Fire destroys vacant home & antique shop

WESTERLY (WPRI) – A vacant home and an antique shop are destroyed following a fire early Sunday morning.

The state fire marshal’s office is investigating what led to the fire at the home that spread to an antique shop next door. Both buildings are a considered a total loss.

Neighbors watched as flames engulfed the buildings. Moranda Rodriguez lives across the street and says standing on her balcony was difficult and at times terrifying, as the flames spread to ta second building and to the power lines. “Out of all of it, that was probably really scary when those lit, because they went up and there was three huge explosions that came off the power lines.”

As utility crews worked to reconnect the power late Sunday morning, the building was still smoking and the walls were still bowing. The fire marshal’s office says the building is too dangerous for anyone to go inside. Their only option is to tear down both the apartment building and antique building next door.

Roger Hall owns the antique shop and witnessed the fire, he says “The smoke was so thick; you couldn’t see the building in back of it.”

Hall says he just signed papers for the town to buy his building with plans to tear it down. Now he fears the cost of demolition will fall on his shoulders. “I hadn’t had an opportunity to clean out any of my antiques on the second floor. It was chock full of antiques and collectibles.”

Hall says town officials had previously called the vacant home next door, a fire hazard, and that people were known to sneak past the boarded windows and doors to seek shelter inside. The owner of the antique shop says he had about $100,000 worth of antiques in the building that went up in flames.

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