Three-story building in Pawtucket destroyed in afternoon fire

(Corey Welch/WPRI)

PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) – A Pawtucket building was destroyed by fire and water Saturday afternoon.

The fire started around 12:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon in a three-story building on North Bend Street. It appears the fire sparked in the stairwell between the first and second floors, making its way upstairs and shooting through the roof.

Eyewitness News cameras captured heavy smoke and fire coming from the roof, and at one point all of the firefighters were ordered out of the building.

“The fire with the wind conditions at this time was extremely tough fire to fight,” said Pawtucket Fire Chief William Sisson.

Wind and cold temperatures were problematic as firefighters worked the scene. Firefighters could be seen leaving the home covered in icicles.

“Just the wind and the wind chills out here once you start spraying water, especially with those master streams, you know, it was just sheer ice everywhere,” said Sisson.

Firefighters said that the building is a total loss, but that five people were living there and all are safe and accounted for tonight.

The home is owned by the Blackstone Valley Youth and Family Collaborative, which is contracted by the Department of Children Youth and Families to provide semi-independent living to 18 through 21-year-old men in DCYF care. Their executive director was on scene of the fire, telling Eyewitness News he is “horrified and devastated.”

“When I got the call I didn’t believe the call, and I just wanted to make sure nobody was in the building and luckily everyone was out,” said Executive Director Daniel Brito.

All five men living in the residence were not home at the time of the fire. They are being provided with another place to stay tonight.

Chief Sisson says it’s too early to determine what caused the fire, and it’s still under investigation tonight.