Providence family trapped by fire recalls harrowing rescue

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Firefighters battling flames at a home in Providence Friday had to use two aerial ladder trucks to rescue people trapped inside the building.

The flames started inside a triple-decker on Barrows Street in Providence just before 10 p.m.

One family became trapped on the third floor of the building.

“They were all out, hanging out the window yelling for help,” said Davide Barros, Sr., whose family was inside the building.

Barros Sr. said he was walking back from a store when he saw his family calling for help. His son, a teenager and a 2-year-old were trapped and needed assistance to get out of the home.

“Just get the baby out first,” said Barros’ son, Davide Jr. “My 2-year-old nephew is the most innocent of all. My first thing was to just grab him and get him out as fast as I could.”

Barros Jr. said the smoky fire prevented them from escaping the building on their own.

“We opened up the door to leave and the smoke was just unbearable and we couldn’t see,” he said. “We couldn’t breathe. So we closed the door immediately.”

Barros Sr. said he was worried about his loved ones inside – but also about the first responders who had to brave the flames to save them.

“I was just worried about everybody in the house, the firemen getting them out,” he said. “I was going to climb up the fire escape to try to help but the cops wouldn’t let me get near the house.”

Fire officials said crews battled not only the clock and the narrow streets but the positioning of their trucks. The ladders had to reach both the Barros’ family and the tenants on the second floor.

“They took three people off the third floor. They were all huddled on the top near the fire escape,” said Assistant Fire Chief Scott Mello of the Providence Police Department.

Eyewitness News returned in the daylight Saturday to find the windows and doors of the first floor boarded up and a pile of blacked items in the grass – including what appeared to be a cabinet and a pot.

Mello said his crews were working at 110% to save everyone in the building. One firefighter suffered a shoulder injury and a person from the first floor was also taken to the hospital.

That person’s condition is unknown.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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