PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — An investigation is underway after one person was found dead inside of a home that caught fire in Pawtucket Wednesday morning.
Firefighters who rushed to Cole Street around 10:30 a.m. were greeted by heavy smoke billowing from the roof and flames shooting from the top floor.
“[The fire] was well ahead of us before we pulled up,” Pawtucket Fire Chief John Trenteseaux said.
Trenteseaux said the victim was found on the first floor of the home. He said two other people were inside at the time, but were pulled to safety from the fire escape by a police officer.
It took roughly two hours to get the fire under control. Trenteseaux said the roof partially collapsed due to the heat, leaving a gaping hole in the front of the building.
Malcolm Freels, who lives in the neighborhood, tells 12 News the first-floor resident is an elderly woman. Freels said he ran over to check on her as soon as he saw the flames.
“She has a disability, so she can’t get up and walk,” he explained.
Freels said he was able to jump into the home through a first-floor window.
“I heard her voice say, ‘Help me! Help me!'” he recalled.
But Freels said the flames were too strong, and he was forced to jump back out of the window before he could find her.
“I tried … I really did,” he said. “I would do it for anybody else.”
Trenteseaux stopped short of identifying the victim, so it’s unclear whether that woman is the person who died in the fire. The cause of the fire is unknown at this time.