Cause of fire at Providence business under investigation

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The owner of a Providence business is not sure if and when he’ll be able to reopen after it was damaged in a fire early Tuesday morning.

The fire broke out at about 1:30 a.m. inside Gio’s Market on Chalkstone Avenue.

Fire officials said it started on the first floor and crews were able to keep it contained there. All of the tenants in the apartments above the store were able to escape to safety.

No injuries were reported.

The store’s owner, Diovany Jimenez, is now assessing the damage, saying he’ll probably be closed for at least two to three months.

“I feel really, really bad because it’s my job,” he said Tuesday. “It’s from here, I take care of all my family. I have people depending on me.”

The store has been in business since 2006. Jimenez said the money he earns helps to support his family in the U.S. and in his native country, the Dominican Republic. The father of two said he wants to reopen right away, but can’t afford it.

“The landlord has insurance for the building, but I don’t have insurance for the store,” said Jimenez.

Jimenez said several customers stopped by the scene to share their sympathy.

“The customers around here, it’s part of my family and my friends,” he said. “They’ve known me for long time.”

Right now, investigators are still trying to determine how the flames started and how much damage was caused. They declined to comment Tuesday on whether it’s considered suspicious.

The state’s health department also visited the scene to find out if the food inside the store is still safe to eat.

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