PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Residents of a Providence triple-decker were able to safely escape a severe fire Friday morning, including a cat and her eight newborn kittens.
The flames broke out on Laban Street at about 9:30 a.m.
Providence Fire Chief Clarence Cunha said heavy flames were coming from the first floor when crews arrived on scene, and they quickly spread to the second and third floors and to the attic.
“I smelled something burning, and I asked my husband ‘what was it?'” said resident Ruthann Santiago. “He went up to get my daughter and we found out the basement was on fire. We went and knocked on the neighbors’ doors to get the neighbors out.”
About 20 minutes after arrival, Cunha said firefighters were forced to evacuate the home and continue their attack from outside.
A total of 11 people live inside the home, all of whom were able to get out safely. The Red Cross is now assisting those displaced with emergency housing and basic needs.
“Thank God for my neighbors, because we were sleeping,” said N’Kiia Stallworth. “It was bad, we tried to just get what we could, and once I knew the house was on fire, you could see the smoke, the flames, coming from the basement into the living room.”
As for the cat, Santiago told us she started having the kittens shortly after the fire started burning.
“After we came out and called the fire department, I went back up to get the cat, and she already had some of the babies,” she said. “She had some of the babies during the fire.”
Crews said the rainy weather actually made the fire harder to fight since the cloud cover pushes the flames back down.
The cause remains under investigation.