PAWTUCKET — A fire in a multi-family apartment house at 111 Randall St. on Friday injured four Pawtucket firefighters and left 15 people homeless.
According to Fire Chief William Sisson, the blaze was reported around 11:30 a.m. in the large, three-story woodframe house. It began in the attic and quickly burned through the roof, causing extensive damage to the entire house, he said.
Only three or four tenants were home at the time of the blaze, and all got out safely, Sisson said. He said one tenant called 9-1-1 to report the blaze and then made efforts to alert the other occupants. He also said the apartment had a working local fire alarm that became activated.
Four firefighters were injured in battling the blaze, Sisson said. One was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation, and three more were taken to the hospital, two for cuts, bruises and burns and another for a hip injury incurred in a fall, Sisson said.
Plus, the way the roof burned, two other city firefighters found themselves in danger and had to be rescued by another Pawtucket Fire ladder truck. Sisson said the two were ventilating the roof when portions collapsed, cutting them off from an escape route.
“It was a brutal fire,” Sisson said. “We averted quite a bit of damage that could have been worse because we had the roof collapse when people were on it,” he said. “Thank God, we had two ladder companies there.”
The top floor was substantially burned and there was smoke and water damage throughout the rest of the apartment building, rendering it uninhabitable, Sisson said. The Rhode Island chapter of the American Red Cross provided assistance to the tenants.
As of Friday afternoon, Sisson said, the cause of the fire was unknown and was being investigated by city fire investigators and the state fire marshal's office.