‘It was a heroic act’: Man killed while saving uncle from West Warwick fire

West Bay

WEST WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — A West Warwick man is being remembered for a heroic act after his home caught fire early Wednesday morning.

Firefighters responded to New London Turnpike around 3:20 a.m. and there were reports of a person trapped inside the home. First responders attempted to get inside but were unable to at first due to the extreme heat and heavy smoke, officials said.

Once crews were able to gain access they found the man, later identified as Jason Mather, 41.

West Warwick Fire Chief Jeffrey Varone said Mather died a hero by taking the time to wake up his uncle.

The uncle jumped out of a window, thinking Mather was right behind him, according to Varone. But, unfortunately, Mather had become trapped.

“I heard someone banging on my door that their house was on fire,” Joseph Rogowski recalled.

Rogowski lives in the neighboring home and said the uncle woke him up so they could try to save his nephew.

“I started kicking the door barefoot trying to get in there, but they had the deadbolt locked so I couldn’t get in through the door,” Rogowski said.

The uncle, who is said to be handicapped, was taken to the hospital.

“It was a heroic act for him to go and save his uncle rather than to just save himself and get out,” Varone added.

Two firefighters and two police officers are being treated for smoke inhalation and burns.

Crews were able to keep the flames from spreading to neighboring homes, despite them being close together.

The state fire marshal’s office said the fire was accidental, having been caused by a gas heater with clothes piled too close to it.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money for Mather’s burial.

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