Fire chief: Late night tenement fire was accidental

Fire chief: Late night tenement fire was accidental

BLACKSTONE – A fire that forced people in multiple buildings to evacuate and damaged a garage and six-family home last Wednesday night has been determined accidental in nature, Blackstone Fire Chief Michael Sweeney told The Breeze on Monday.

According to Sweeney, the fire likely began in a truck that was parked within a few feet of both a six-family home located at 1202 Social St. and the accompanying garage. The vehicle, he said, had been brought to the property earlier that day by its owner. Though Fire Department personnel know that the truck was recently purchased, and therefore could have had any number of undiagnosed problems that led to the fire, it is unlikely they’ll be able to determine the exact source.

“That part will probably remain undetermined,” said Sweeney.

The fire, he said, then spread directly to both the garage and the six-family home. While the garage experienced significant damage, damage to the house was confined to a bedroom in one of the apartments on the first floor. Due to the timing and type of fire, it’s likely it burned for some time before the department responded to a call around 11:30 p.m., said Sweeney.

“I think the siding on the house would be the hero of the day because it had some sort of a cement base siding on there that kind of kept it away,” he said. “It got so far advanced because it was an outside fire, it was late at night, nobody noticed it. Chances are in the summertime, with windows open, they would’ve heard it or smelled it and people would’ve noticed it sooner.”

Within about three hours, Blackstone Fire Department personnel, with assistance from the Woonsocket Fire Department, were able to extinguish the fires in both buildings along with the vehicle. The residents of 1202 Social St. were evacuated safely, as were the residents of 1204 Social St. as a precaution. While the residents of the neighboring building were able to return to their homes, 1202 Social St. was still undergoing repairs as of earlier this week. In addition to damage to the walls, Sweeney said the building experienced significant electrical damage. He estimated between 12 and 20 residents were affected.

“The six main lines that come in were all fused together, so there’s some significant electrical work and there’s some other smoke damage,” he said. “There wasn’t a lot of damage to the building, but enough to keep them out of the building until they fix these electrical issues.”

According to Sweeney, it took about 15 firefighters and four engines to extinguish the fire by the early hours of Thursday morning. No injuries to residents or firefighters were reported.