Stubborn 4-alarm fire forces nearby school to close

A 4-alarm fire tore through a Washington Street business in Central Falls on Tuesday, April 14, 2015. (Photo: Sterling Beaucage via ReportIt!)

CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. (WPRI) — It took firefighters two hours to bring a business fire under control in Central Falls Tuesday morning.

The flames erupted inside a garage-like structure on Washington Street around 6 a.m.

Central Falls Fire Chief Robert Bradley, Jr. said the flames were very intense due to the contents inside the Northeast Contracting storage garage, which included construction supplies and at least one propane tank, which exploded. The smoke was so bad, it forced classes to be cancelled for the day at nearby Calcutt Middle School.

“They were hampered by choking smoke. They couldn’t move very far,” Bradley said.  “Because the smoke was just at a point where you could not see two feet in front of you, the Superintendent canceled school.”

Bradley says school will be open on Wednesday.

Gail Wilding, who was inside her home near the storage unit at the time of the fire, says she knew something was wrong when she heard banging on here front door.

“When I opened the front door the flames and the smoke were going by the house. So there was a woman in a vehicle and she said ‘Get out! Get out! Your house is on fire.'”

Tenants in Wilding’s building, and another nearby, were evacuated.

According to the tenants, the woman who saved them is named Daisy — they say they thank her profusely.

In addition to smoke and flames, security bars on the garage’s doors and windows added another challenge.

“It made gaining entrance into the building extremely difficult. The fire had a big head start on us,” Bradley said.

An employee for Northeast Contracting says the company lost well over $100,000 in equipment.

According to Bradley, it could be some time before a cause is determined.

No injuries were reported.

Below is video taken by Sterling Beaucage, who contacted us via ReportIt!

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