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Smoking in bed blamed for fire

November 17, 2010

BURRILLVILLE — Careless smoking in bed is being blamed for an early-morning fire that injured two residents and two firefighters Wednesday.
The fire broke out around 4:15 a.m. in the right side apartment of a two-family duplex at 118 Grove St. in the Pascoag section of town.
The apartment was occupied by a 60-year-old woman and a 57-year-old-man who is handicapped and wheelchair bound.
Pascoaaqg Fire Chief John DeFusco said the woman told EMT's that she was was hooked up to an oxygen tank and had been smoking in bed when she fell asleep.
Both occupants, who's names were not released, escaped the fire with the help of a Pascoag firefighter and town police officer, who were the first to arrive at the scene. The occupants were taken by separate ambulances to Rhode Island Hospital where they were being treated Wednesday morning for smoke inhalation.
Two firefighters — one from the Pascoag Fire Department and the other from the Oakland-Mapleville Fire Department — were taken to Landmark Medical Center in Woonsocket where they were treated for heat exhaustion and later released, according to DeFusco.
The left-side apartment of the duplex was occupied by six tenants, none of whom were aware that a fire had broken out on the other side of the duplex until they heard fire trucks arriving and knocks on the door from police and firefighters who were attempting to rouse them from their sleep.
They were referred to the Red Cross for short-term shelter, but should be able to return to the apartment, which was not damaged in the fire.
The major damage was the in the bedroom and kitchen of the right side apartment, which as of yesterday was pegged at more than $100,000, said DeFusco, adding the entire right side of the duplex was "destroyed.".
The owner of the duplex is listed as David McGinnis of Maryland.
It took firefighters two hours to control the blaze, attacking it from inside and from the roof, which had to be ventilated.
"It was a tough fire because it's an old house with balloon construction so the fire got in the walls, traveled up to the second floor and then into attic," DeFusco said.
All of Burrillville's fire departments, as well as the Uxbridge and Chapachet Fire Departments, were called in to help fight the fire, which was mainly under control by 6:30 a.m.. All told, there were about 40 firefighters and 10 trucks on the scene.
The Rhode Island Fire Marshal's Office completed its investigation around 10 a.m.

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