PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A supervisor from the Providence Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Bureau has been reassigned after officials say he failed to act on an inspection report days before a fatal fire at 110 Bowdoin Street.
Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Paré said the supervisor – who he declined to name – was “moved as a result of not properly giving notice after an inspection.”
“There are systems in place,” Paré said. “There was a failure to take the appropriate action on a report.”
The disciplinary action was taken Sunday, Paré said.
The fire at 110 Bowdoin Street erupted on the early morning of Jan. 6, igniting surrounding buildings and claiming the life of 39-year-old Lucy Feliciano.
As Target 12 previously reported, tenant Roland Colpitts called police seeking help five days before the fire because the home was littered with extension cords powering space heaters and hot plates. Natural gas had been shut off to the home months earlier, according to a National Grid spokesperson.
Ultimately, a fire department inspector was dispatched that day and found only one electrical box supplying multiple apartments and other “major electrical issues,” according to a report obtained by Target 12.
“Extension cords running from second floor to basement used to tie into electrical panel,” the report states. “Electrical panel in disarray with no covers. Electrical cords used for portable heaters.”
Paré said the report was emailed to a supervisor in fire prevention, but it went nowhere. He said the report should have been referred to the Department of Inspections and Standards to take action.
Colpitts later reached out to the city again, which led a building official to declare the property was being run as an illegal boarding house, and recommend the property be condemned.
But with a major winter storm coming the next day, the inspector decided to hold off on the condemnation process until the following week.
Days later, the fire erupted at 110 Bowdoin Street. Investigators have said the likely cause of the fire was space heaters or hot plates.
Paré said the supervisor has been moved to another position within the department.
It’s unclear if the supervisor will file a grievance in the wake of the job action. Firefighter’s union president Paul Doughty declined to comment.