PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare Monday said firefighters have located the remains of a body in the rubble of a Bowdoin Street home that burned to the ground on Saturday.
The Providence Fire Department used a crane to search through the debris that was once 110 Bowdoin Street Monday morning, two days after the house was destroyed in a massive fire. Three other homes were also damaged, two of them extensively.
Officials had been searching a missing woman who was unaccounted for since the fire broke out on Saturday. Her family members including her brother Luis Feliciano identified her as Lucy Feliciano Monday, telling Eyewitness News she had been inside sleeping at the time of the fire.
Pare said he could not confirm the identity nor gender of the person until the medical examiner positively identifies the body, but said no other person is unaccounted for at this time.
Lucy’s relatives said the body found in the rubble has to be her.
“We know it’s her because she was the only one missing,” David Gotay, Lucy’s nephew.
Luis Feliciano said he ran out of his home two doors down from 110 Bowdoin when the fire broke out Saturday, but his sister’s home was already fully engulfed in flames.
“She was very happy,” Luis Feliciano said in Spanish of his 49-year-old sister. He said she had nine children.
“She was always with a lot of friends, going out,” said Gotay. “Everybody loved her.”
”It was too dangerous to enter that home,” said Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare.
Pare said firefighters tried entering the two adjacent homes, which also caught fire, to search for anyone who might have been left inside. When two firefighters climbed to the top of one of the homes, the roof collapsed and pinned the leg of firefighter Dan Rinaldi. He called “Mayday,” a distress call for help from his fellow firefighters.
”They had to use the jaws of life and cut him out of the heavy roof that pinned his leg,” Pare said. Rinaldi suffered burns but is expected to be okay. The firefighter who was with him suffered smoke inhalation and was treated and released from the hospital.
Firefighters are still investigating what caused the fire, and will be looking closely at the electrical system, which Pare said was powering multiple space heaters. The building was slated to be condemned after inspectors last week found it had no heat, no running water and was described by an inspector as “a mess.”