Warwick man recalls scene of crash, fire that destroyed his home

(Julianne Peixoto/WPRI)

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — One of the residents that was inside a Toll Gate Road home when it was hit by a pickup truck said he’s worried he’ll soon be homeless.

Friends have set up a GoFundMe page for David Becker, who along with his girlfriend Sue and their two neighbors, lost everything in Saturday’s fire.

“It was a sound like I’ve never heard before,” Becker said of the moment the truck hit his home. “The whole house literally shook and it moved like 12 inches, which made me stumble and I fell back.”

Becker lost all of his belongings and a pet cat in the fire, which tore through the multi-family home. He said he tried to gather some of his prized possessions and his missing cat, but couldn’t get through the smoke.

“By the time I was in there the smoke just started billowing to the point where I couldn’t even see my hand,” he recalled.

The Red Cross provided him and his girlfriend with $460 and temporary housing in a local hotel, but Becker said he’s worried they’re running out of time and money.

“I had gone shopping at Walmart.” he explained. “Going through, I realized halfway through I had bought a mop, and I’m thinking, I don’t have a floor anymore.”

Becker is a musician, and said some of his friends are planning a benefit concert for him on Saturday, May 6 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Boneyard restaurant in Warwick. Although he’s reticent to accept help, he said he’s not sure what else to do.

“It just scared the hell out of me,” he said. “And it’s something I’m re-living on a daily basis.”

The driver of the pickup truck – Laurence Gagnon – may face a DUI charge, pending the outcome of a blood alcohol test.