Official: House catches fire for 3rd time, flames intentionally set

FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — Fire crews believe a house fire that broke out on Bay Street late Tuesday night was intentionally set.

The abandoned building, which caught fire for the third time in the past three months, concerned firefighters as sparks were flying Tuesday. Fire crews told Eyewitness News they were worried that the sparks would ignite the building next door which had people living inside.

According to the Deputy Fire Chief Roger St. Martin, all of the utilities inside the building were turned off and the fire was most likely intentionally set.

Fire crews are investigating if someone may have moved into the building, even though it was boarded up, and accidentally ignited the fire.

Neighbor Greg Acosta told Eyewitness News that the flames were vicious.

“Well I was standing on my porch and I smelled a campfire smell, like a burning smell,” he said. “It didn’t sound good or smell good or anything. I saw a fire engine come down the street and I came outside and the house was just engulfed, it was vicious.”

Last week, more than two dozen firefighters were laid off in Fall River, because the federal money used to hire them over the past four years ran out. Residents are concerned that the small department could lead to issues with resources throughout the city.

St. Martin told Eyewitness News that on Tuesday alone, there were two fires and a car accident, which left resources thin and the department relying on mutual aid from other communities.

“At one time in the city we have one engine left, so the mutual aid really picked up the ball for us this time,” he said. “I can see the concern. I’m very concerned about the staffing at this time as well.”

No injuries were reported in connection to the Bay Street fire.

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