Chief: Fatal fire ‘affects everybody’ on Prudence Island

Photo courtesy of the Portsmouth Fire Dept.

PORTSMOUTH, R.I. (WPRI) — Volunteer firefighters on Prudence Island had to call in extra help Thursday night after a massive fire broke out on the small island.

Emergency crews responded to the Ross Lane scene by boat and helped knock down the flames in about two hours – but soon found a man dead inside the home.

Portsmouth Fire Chief Michael Cranson said the house was unrecognizable by the time the fire was put out.

“I believe it’s a one-story house. There’s so much damage to the home that it’s really hard to tell,” he said. “We need to talk to witnesses and actually get a better understanding of what the house looked like before the fire.”

Cranson said the tragedy will be tough on local residents.

“Prudence Island is a very tight-knit community, and everybody knows each other and everybody sort of looks after each other, so when something like this happens, it’s a tragedy and it really affects everybody,” he explained.

The last time the island had a fatal fire was about two years ago, according to the chief.

“Those things do happen, and it’s important we try and determine what happened in an effort to make sure it doesn’t happen again in the future.”

The state fire marshal continues to investigate the cause of the fire, while the medical examiner is investigating the cause of the man’s death.

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