PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — As crews investigate a fire at a vacant home in Providence, investigators are also working to identify a man whose body was found at the scene.
The fire broke out at about 2 a.m. Wednesday on Linwood Avenue. Firefighters discovered the man’s body inside the home as they worked to put out the flames.
“We have no cause yet. We have arson division here, fire prevention division doing their investigation,” said Assistant Providence Fire Chief Scott Mello.
Officials haven’t determined yet if the fire is suspicious. Arson investigators were seen using a drone to survey the damage.
Neighbors wonder whether the deceased man was homeless.
“We still see the homeless people going in and out of this place,” said Cedric Ford. “Every day you still see them going in. They take the plywood and move the side and move the wood back so you wouldn’t know they were in there.”
Firefighters said it was the second fire at that address in the past four months. Squatters illegally using the electricity were at fault for the first fire, according to officials.
“Truth be told, there’s anger in that there’s another fire in the same house, especially it’s only two houses from my house,” added Ford. “Something needs to be done about the situation. I mean, I’m not mad at the homeless people. They have nowhere to stay, but something does need to be done about the situation.”
Fire officials said the house was badly damaged and will have to be torn down.
According to a spokesperson for the mayor’s office, the foreclosed property was already slated for demolition after it was deemed unsafe.