1 dead in Providence house fire; hoarding conditions hindered firefighters

Providence

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — One person is dead after a fire broke out at a Providence home Friday afternoon, according to Deputy Assistant Fire Chief Kevin Jutras.

Jutras said firefighters were called to a Young Avenue home for reports of flames and smoke shooting out of the second-floor windows.

When firefighters made their way inside, Jutras said they were met with “hoarding conditions, high heat and zero visibility” on the second floor.

It wasn’t until firefighters were able to climb through the second-floor windows that they found the victim, according to Jutras.

He said fighting the flames was made difficult by the hoarding conditions.

“The home was filled up with a lot of belongings. The hallway was cluttered and the rooms were chock full of belongings on the second floor,” Jutras explained. “These kinds of conditions are dangerous for firefighters. As they push past these piles of debris — clothing and boxes — they can collapse and fall and block them in, so that was a major concern.”

Jutras said no firefighters were injured and no one else was inside the home at the time.

The home sustained significant damage on the second floor, according to Jutras.

“A lot of the structure of this building has been burned away,” he said, adding that the home is now uninhabitable.

Jutras commended the firefighters tasked with doing “yeoman’s work” on the second floor.

“The conditions that they faced were very harsh and difficult and they worked very admirably in an attempt to save this person’s life,” he said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation at this time, though Jutras believes the hoarding conditions fueled the flames.

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