COVENTRY, R.I. (WPRI) -- A devastating house fire in Coventry, R.I. early Tuesday morning sent one woman to the hospital and left two families homeless for the time being.
Residents of Wood Cove Drive in Coventry, R.I. awoke early Tuesday morning to the sound of an explosion coming from Bob Houghton's two-family home.
"It sounded like fireworks," said Houghton's neighbor Charles Rennick. "That's what woke me up."
Just after midnight, the Coventry Fire Dept. arrived to find Houghton's house entirely engulfed in flames. Fire Captain David Gorman said the cause of the fire was a faulty clothes dryer.
The fire crews were able to contain the flames in around an hour and a half, but not before the house was declared a total loss.
Neighbors had mixed reactions as to firefighters' response time.
"I thought it was amazing how quickly they came here and contained [the fire]," said Rennick. "We appreciated it, because our house is right next door."
Houghton, on the other hands, said he believed more could have been done. While fire crews were attempting to douse the flames, one of their engines experienced a power failure, which Houghton believed delayed action that could have saved his home.
Capt. Gorman disagreed, insisting that the failed engine was only a backup and that its failure in no way hindered firefighting operations.
Four adults, an infant and two dogs were able to escape from the burning house.
Houghton's wife, Alma, was rushed to Kent Hospital for breathing troubles, where she expected to make a full recovery, and one of the family's pet dogs was treated by a vet and released.
Neither Houghton nor his tenants had insurance, leaving them homeless for the time being.
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