CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. (WPRI) – Central Falls Police and the State Fire Marshal are investigating whether a house fire on Central Street was arson, and are offering a reward for information.
Fire Chief Robert Bradley said it’s possible the fire was intentionally set, although he said it has not been ruled arson and the cause has not yet been determined.
The flames broke out around 2 a.m. Monday at 329 Central Street. Eight trucks from three different departments were called in to extinguish the fire. Bradley said the older homes on the street are very close together, and crews were focused on preventing the fire from spreading. They were ultimately able to contain it before it spread.
Bradley said the fire likely started on or near a porch before spreading to the rest of the house.
“Any possibility of an outside fire definitely kind of gets your attention,” Chief Bradley said. “Obviously they don’t start on their own if it’s from the outside. Somebody had a hand in it and that’s the last thing we need is to have somebody intentionally setting fires.”
The homeowner, Kevin Kazarian, was the only person in the home at the time of the fire. He told Eyewitness News that he woke up to the sound of crackling and popping and saw flames outside his window. Kazarian was able to grab several belongings from the home, including a pet bird, before making his way outside safely.
Next-door neighbor Nelly Gavidia showed Eyewitness News a surveillance video that shows the moment the porch exploded in flames at 1:52 a.m. The video also shows some cars driving by the house. Gavidia provided the video to police, who would only say they are investigating the cause of the fire with the State Fire Marshal’s Office.
Christian Garces, who was outside in a friend’s backyard nearby at the time of the fire, said he “heard what we thought was like a gunshot.” They ran out to the street and saw the porch was engulfed in flames.
“Even from way down the street we could feel the heat,” Garces said.
The Fire Marshal placed signs on the home offering up to a $5,000 reward for information. The Arson Watch hotline number is (401) 383-7723 and calls are confidential.
According to Chief Bradley, Central Falls firefighters had a difficult time dealing with the heat and humidity at the time of the fire. One firefighter suffered a minor shoulder injury and was treated on the scene. There were no other injuries related to the fire.