PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A Providence fire official praised a woman’s quick thinking after her apartment caught fire Friday afternoon.
The fire started around 3:45 p.m. at a building on Stephen Hopkins Court on the city’s East Side. Deputy Assistant Fire Chief Kevin Jutras said crews arrived to find heavy flames coming from the first-floor unit and spreading up to the second floor.
The woman fled the apartment after smelling smoke and hearing popping noises. Jutras said she ran upstairs and started knocking on people’s doors to alert them to the fire.
She also made another important decision, according to Jutras.
“If there are lessons for the public to take away, if you leave your apartment that’s on fire: close the door behind you,” he said. “You can isolate the fire and, as well, if there are people that reside above the fire, you will provide them a better chance of egressing the building safely.”
The fire was knocked down quickly and no injuries were reported.
Jutras said the woman lives in the apartment with her two children, but they weren’t home at the time. The unit was heavily damaged.
“A lot of the heat and fire and smoke left that apartment out through a [sliding door] that minimized the smoke damage to the adjacent apartments,” Jutras explained. He said the second-floor unit sustained some smoke and exterior damage and the adjacent apartments are being monitored for carbon monoxide.
Seven adults and three children were displaced by the fire, but Jutras said some of them may soon be able to return if the adjacent units are deemed safe. The American Red Cross was called in to provide assistance.
Firefighters had to put down about 1,000 feet of hose to establish a water supply, according to Jutras, but they were still able to make quick work of the fire. Coincidentally, a crew from the Branch Avenue fire house happened to be at the same complex earlier in the day to familiarize themselves with the layout and water sources so they’d be ready in the event of an emergency.
“Every day, companies are out in what we call ‘district familiarization.’ They’re out training, they’re out in the neighborhoods, they’re out looking at high-life occupancies like this,” he said. “Every day, members of the Providence Fire Department are out training somewhere in the city.”
A gofundme has been set up to help the woman who “lost everything,” according to the post.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.