COVENTRY, R.I. (WPRI) — Investigators say a fire that damaged several Coventry businesses overnight was likely accidental and electrical.
The industrial building on Flat River Road caught fire at about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Central Coventry Fire Capt. David Gorman said the garage-type building housed several businesses, including a landscaping company and an asbestos abatement company.
Firefighters were at the scene within six minutes, according to Gorman, but the roof had already caved in by the time they arrived, keeping them from getting inside to fight the flames.
“The building is a complete and total loss,” he said. “It was well involved by the time we arrived so it’s going to put a couple of businesses displaced for a few days at least until they find somewhere else to operate from.”
The state fire marshal’s office responded to the scene on Thursday and officials said the fire appears to have been accidental and electrical in nature.
According to the landscaper, he lost about three to four thousand dollars worth of equipment in the flames.
Central Coventry Fire Chief Peter Lamb said crews ran into problems while trying to gain entry to the building.
“There was just so much fire on arrival,” he said.
Lamb said the asbestos company kept a dumpster full of asbestos next to the garage – which caused some issues for first responders.
“While it’s wet, it’s obviously as safe as it’s going to be,” Lamb said. “But those bags caught fire easily, some cardboard caught fire, and threw some of that asbestos into the air.”
Many of the firefighters and people at the scene were wearing masks, but some were not, Lamb said.
“Most people had masks on. Some did not because it was all exterior,” he explained. “We just documented what happened and took all the precautions we needed to take at the time.”
No injuries were reported.