COVENTRY, R.I. (WPRI) — A man was found dead after a fire broke out at a Coventry home early Thursday morning.
Fire crews responding to the home at the corner of Read Avenue and Ernest Street just before 4 a.m. found heavy flames quickly ripping through the first floor.
“At a quarter of 4 in the morning, most people are sleeping,” Coventry Fire Chief Frank Brown said. “The road is not that well-traveled at that time in the morning, so it probably had a pretty good head start by the condition it was in when we arrived.”
Brown said neighbors eventually smelled the smoke and called 911. Firefighters were on scene in about three minutes, he said, but the fire had already spread throughout the home. As a result, they had to fight the flames from outside.
“Tried to attempt to get in the building, but by the sheer volume of the fire on the first floor, they weren’t able to make entry,” he explained.
Once crews were able to get inside, they found the man’s body. His name has not yet been released.
Neighbors tell Eyewitness News the man mostly kept to himself and they didn’t know much about him, but he was always friendly.
“He’d come out and he’d smile at the kids, the kids would say hi, and he’d always say it brightened up his day just to say hello to everybody,” Nichole Fontaine said.
“He would say, ‘well, I’m living, so today is a good day,’ and he’d go on about his day like anyone else,” she added.
Neighbors said the man lived with a black, medium-sized dog, which is currently missing.
The home was left uninhabitable and has since been boarded up, covering much of the visible damage.
According to Coventry police, crews from five other fire departments assisted: Anthony, Central Coventry, Hopkins Hill, Western Coventry, and West Warwick.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.