Police ID woman who died in Coventry mobile home fire

Kim Kalunian | WPRI-TV

COVENTRY, R.I. (WPRI) — Coventry police have identified a town resident who died Monday in a fire at her mobile home.

Emergency crews rushed to 5 Hide-A-Way in the town’s Leisure Village retirement community Monday to find the trailer fully engulfed in flames.

Pamela Sutcliffe, 66, did not make it out alive, according to police. Neighbors told Eyewitness News she was bedridden and unable to escape the burning home.

Her husband, Joseph Sutcliffe, 70, was transported to Kent County Hospital with serious injuries after trying to save his wife. Two police officers also suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Officials believe it may have been started by a gas grill outside the mobile home before it spread inside.

Neighbors told Eyewitness News it took the fire department close to half an hour to respond to the home, but according to Central Coventry Fire Chief Peter Lamb, fire crews were there within six minutes of the 911 calls.

“I don’t know how long this fire was burning before we got the first call, that might account for some time,” Lamb said.

Firefighters also ran into a water supply issue while fighting the flames. When their trucks depleted their water, firefighters neglected to notice the hydrant closest to the burning home and trekked to one further away on Nooseneck Hill Road. Lamb admits to the “confusion,” but believes the issue only added an extra five or seven minutes to their efforts.

When asked if access to a closer hydrant would have made a difference in the outcome of the fire, Lamb said the home was already fully engulfed when firefighters arrived.

He said he will investigate why firefighters neglected to notice and use the closer hydrant.

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