PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — Firefighters in Pawtucket were called to the scene of a house fire Tuesday on Campbell Terrace.
Mario Vaz said he was running errands when he got the call that his home was on fire.
“A neighbor called me [saying] there is a fire at my house,” Vaz said.
At the time of the fire, Vaz’s mother-in-law was sitting on the front porch.
“She was outside waiting for my other daughter to come home from school and suddenly, she started seeing smoke come from the kitchen area,” he said.
The fire quickly spread and several fire trucks responded to the scene.
“The house was in flames,” said neighbor Katherine Henry. “The whole street was literally black with smoke.”
According to Capt. Mike Polacek of the Pawtucket Fire Department, responding firefighters first thought they were dealing with an attic fire.
“When they got into the building, they realized they had basement fire so they started attacking the basement and from that point on it ran away from them,” he said. “It got all the way into the attic and this is what you see.”
Polacek said the home next door is fine, but the residence Vaz has called home for 20 years is severely damaged. Firefighters said the roof and part of the chimney collapsed.
Vaz said all he can do now is be strong.
“Especially when you got family – you’ve got to be stronger because they’re younger kids,” he said. “So if I’m not strong enough, how are they going to be? The most important thing is life.”
Vaz’s mother-in-law was taken to the hospital as a precaution but Eyewitness News has learned she is expected to be okay.
He said his wife just left for a two-week vacation in Portugal – and he’s trying to figure out how to tell her what happened.