WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — A large fire at an apartment complex that displaced dozens of families has been ruled accidental.
Crews were called to the Four Seasons South apartments on Warwick Avenue around 2:30 a.m. At one time, flames could be seen shooting out through the roof of the building, which holds 48 apartments.
National Grid was on scene Saturday evening trying to get power back on in some of the apartments – but dozens of people are still without homes.
“Someone was yelling ‘get out, get out! The house is on fire,'” Charles Hunt said.
Hunt told Eyewitness News his apartment was one of 12 units that firefighters described as “destroyed.” He said he lost everything – including his cat, Autumn.
“I can’t go in there. I lost everything. This is all I have,” he said, pointing to his shirt.
Saturday evening, the Rhode Island Fire Marshal ruled the fire accidental, caused by an electric outlet outside one of the first-floor units.
Warwick Battalion Chief David Morse said 12 families may never make it back into their homes.
“The 12 that were heavily damaged by fire and water will probably not be reoccupied,” he said. “And that will come down to the owner of the property, whether he’s going to tear them down or reconstruct.”
Others will be able to get back inside their apartments in the next couple of days, officials said.
Everyone in the building made it out safely, but one firefighter was transported to the hospital with a neck and back injury. Fire officials said he has been released.
Multiple residents on scene told Eyewitness News their smoke alarms did not go off Saturday morning. According to Chief Morse, the owner is required to check them regularly. The property manager on scene was not willing to comment on the fire.
The Red Cross is now assisting families – and a shelter has been set up at Warwick Vets High School to assist residents.
A GoFundMe.com page has been set up for one family who lost all of their belongings. Click here to donate.James O’Leary contributed to this report.