WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Investigators are looking into what caused a massive fire that tore through one of the buildings at a Warwick condo complex
Crews were called to Westgate Condominiums on Quaker Lane around 10:30 Wednesday morning.
Around the same time, photos and video started coming into the Eyewitness Newsroom via ReportIt showing flames and thick smoke pouring from one of the buildings. When all was said and done, more than three dozen units were destroyed.
Smoke could be seen as far away as Providence and flames were visible from about a half-mile away.
- ReportIt Photos: Warwick Condo Fire
Nearly 100 residents were inside the 38-unit building when the fire broke out. All of them escaped safely
“My neighbors came and banged on the door and said ‘get out, the building’s on fire.’ So I ran out and saw the flames coming out of the third floor in one of the units,” said fire victim Susan Gaipo. “Huge flames and it spread fast.”
Warwick Fire Chief Edmund Armstrong said the fire started on the third floor of the building.
Crews initially ran into the building to attack the flames, but quickly ran back out when they encountered some problems.
“We had one ladder truck go down and an engine company go down,” Armstrong said, adding there were also water pressure issues. “Those seconds – seconds without water – mean quite a bit to us. It means we could possibly lose a building.”
Eyewitness News cameras rolled as firefighters ran from hydrant to hydrant trying to find pressure.
“At one point, we did go to the next neighborhood over to bring water in. We went to Quaker Lane to bring water in and we have tankers from other cities and towns,” Armstrong said.
In order for firefighters to access the water, police shut down parts of Quaker Lane so crews could run lines.