Fire chief: Building renovations left spaces for flames to grow

Families, businesses displaced after Cumberland fire

(Photo: Brian Yocono/WPRI)

CUMBERLAND, R.I. (WPRI) — Families and businesses have been displaced after a massive fire broke out in Cumberland.

Town officials said it broke out around 5 p.m. Monday at 515 Broad Street.

Fire officials told Eyewitness News that people were inside of the building when the the fire started, but everyone was able to get out safely.

According to the owner of the building, the three apartments on the top floors had families living inside.

“The top was totally engulfed with flames at one point, the top of the roof caved in,” said neighbor Deborah Krouzek.

Eyewitness News crews reported seeing trucks from Central Falls, Wrentham, Pawtucket and North Attleboro helping out at the scene.

“The first companies arriving found heavy fire coming from the Cumberland Street side,” said Cumberland Fire Chief Kenneth Finlay.

According to the chief, the building was rehabbed a few times — which left empty spaces where the fire was able to grow.

“Once it got into the roof, it had clear air space to travel,” Finlay said.

According to Lisa Phillips, the building owners also had offices on the first floor.

“It was a commercial building. It had a real estate office and it had a chiropractor’s office,” she said. “I feel horrible — they’re beautiful people.”

Fire investigators said they still don’t know where or how the first started — and no injuries were reported.

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