PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — Neighbors are rallying around the two families who were forced from their homes by a fire Wednesday morning.
Firefighters rushed to the Ballston Avenue apartment building around 9 a.m. to find thick smoke billowing from the home and flames shooting from the windows.
Neighbor Gwendolen McGlinchey watched as firefighters rescued two boys who had climbed out of a third-floor window and onto the fire escape.
McGlinchey said one of the boys told her that their grandmother was pushing them out the window to safety and was stuck inside.
The 71-year-old woman was rushed to the hospital where she remains in critical condition, according to police. One of the boys suffered minor injuries during his escape and is expected to be OK.
Deirdre Caulfield, who lives nearby, created a GoFundMe page to help that family, as well as the property owner and his family, who live on the first floor.
“I like to think ahead,” Caulfield said. “I wanted to do something, and that made the most sense.”
“These people are going to need money,” she continued. “They’re going to need clothes … they’re going to need everything.”
Caulfield tells 12 News she’s in contact wit the property owner and is hoping the community can help both families start over.
“I think it’s really important and I think the community is really going to come through,” she said. “Let’s just worry about getting them what they need going forward.”
The cause of the fire remains under investigation at this time, though investigators believe it started inside the second-floor apartment.