CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. (WPRI) — An investigation is underway into the cause of a fire that forced sixteen Central Falls residents into the cold Monday afternoon.
The fire broke out inside an apartment building on Cowden Street.
Central Falls Fire Chief Scott Mello tells 12 News all 16 of the residents have been displaced and are being assisted by the American Red Cross.
Mello said firefighters had to rescue some animals from the burning building. No injuries were reported.
The exact cause of the fire is unknown at this time, though one tenant believes she knows what happened.
Carmen Rodriguez tells 12 News she and several other tenants have been trying to get ahold of their landlord regarding issues with the building’s heater.
Rodriguez said every time she’s called her landlord, he would tell her he’s too busy.
12 News reached out to the landlord, who claims those conversations “never happened,” though he declined to provide further details.
Mello said the investigation is ongoing, but it appears the fire started “directly behind the stove area.”
“The heat emanates off that chimney and it could’ve been old and in need of repair, we’re not sure, but we will have people investigating that,” Mello said.