Space heater sparked destructive Fall River fire, says fire captain

FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — A Fall River family is looking for a new place to live after a fire destroyed their home in the final hours of 2017.

“It seems like a dream, like it never really happened, until you look at it and realize that everything we have is gone,” tenant Jared Silvia said Tuesday.

The fire broke out just after 9 p.m. Sunday inside a three-story building on Rodman Street. It was caused by a space heater located too close to a couch, according to Fall River Fire Capt. Neil Furtado.

Silvia said he and his wife decided to stay in for New Year’s Eve. With their three young children already asleep, the couple suddenly heard horns honking outside and when they went to look out the window, they spotted the fire.

Silvia and his wife grabbed the children and ran outside to safety with nothing but the clothing on their backs. He said neighbors gave them blankets to stay warm until the American Red Cross arrived on scene.

Fire crews spent nearly 12 hours fighting not only the flames, but also the icy conditions and bitter cold.

Everyone who was inside at the time made it out safely. Silvia said he’s grateful for that, along with the outpouring of support his family has received.

“It’s devastating, it really is. I can’t put it into words,” he said. “I’m just glad everyone is safe.”

“Everybody was just absolutely amazing,” Silvia continued. “Everybody just did everything to the fullest capability and I couldn’t ask for anything more. Just thank you. You guys made everything just as easy as it possibly could be for us, I couldn’t be more thankful.”