PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Nearly 30 people are without a place to live after a massive fire tore through a Providence triple-decker Wednesday morning.
Providence Deputy Fire Chief Steve Capracotta tells Eyewitness News three families lived in the home – which is located on Althea Street.
Capracotta said everyone inside the building made it out safely.
No one was injured, though four children were transported to the hospital and later released. Capracotta said one of those children was treated for smoke inhalation and is expected to be okay.
First-floor resident Kastihuca Rollins wasn’t home when the fire broke out and arrived to find the building engulfed in flames. She said her mother’s 12-year-old Chihuahua died in the fire.
“She wasn’t just a dog, she was actually family,” Rollins said.
Neighbor Ricardo Calderon opened his doors to more than a dozen fire victims. He said one of the younger residents he took in was inconsolable.
“One of the girls don’t stop crying, she said she ‘left all her dollies on the bed,’ and she just got a laptop for her birthday and was ready to go to school,” he said. “They all are devastated.”
Another neighbor – Dottie James – said she’s heartbroken for the affected families who once lived inside the building.
The home wasn’t safe to walk in, but firefighters managed to find items on the third floor and throw them down to the residents waiting outside.
The boxes were water-logged, some breaking as residents tried to pick them up. Others had priceless memories inside.
“They’re throwing pictures out of their mothers,” James said. “These are middle-aged people, and these things are sentimental – that they’ll never get back.”
While residents try to salvage some of their personal belongings, James said she plans to provide them with whatever help she can.
“We really need to pull together and help these families,” James said.
None of the surrounding homes was damaged. The American Red Cross is now assisting the residents.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation, though Arson Investigator Paul Doughty said he doesn’t believe it was intentionally set.
Providence police tell Eyewitness news since the beginning of the year, they’ve been called to the home numerous times.
Kait Walsh, Alexandra Leslie, Sarah Doiron, Bill Tomison, Miles Montgomery, Nancy Krause and Dan Carpenter contributed to this report.