WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Firefighters discovered a man’s body while battling flames at a Warwick home early Thursday morning.
According to Battalion Chief Tom Bradley, crews were called to Namquid Drive around 3:30 a.m. for a report of flames shooting through the roof of the home.
Heavy smoke was seen coming from the front corner of the house, Bradley said, and firefighters had to force entry. Once inside, they found the man, who was the only person inside at the time.
Warwick police said there are suspicious circumstances to the fire and they’re not ruling anything out at this time.
The state fire marshal, Tim McLaughlin, also responded to assist with the investigation, confirming to Eyewitness News there was a canine brought to the scene.
“We brought her in to see if there was any accelerant, and she appeared to have hit on a couple of things,” added McLaughlin.
“It’s suspicious, I’ll put it to you that way,” added McLaughlin. “That’s a fair assumption, its suspicious and we are treating it as such.”
Neighbors tell Eyewitness News they were woken up by the fire.
“I heard one fire truck blazing very loud of course it woke me up looked out the windows, so all the smoke, the smoke was all over the place, just engulfed the whole area in smoke so we knew it was big,” said neighbor Greg Pezza.
While authorities have not officially released the victim’s name, according to tax records, the owner of the home is Stephen Barker.
Court records show Barker was arrested in 2019 and charged with patronizing a minor for commercial sex activity and indecent solicitation of a minor.
There was a pre-trial hearing scheduled in his case on Wednesday.
The Fire Marshals office says the victim’s identity is being withheld pending an identification from the Medical Examiner’s office and family notification.