WOONSOCKET — Fire officials have identified a woodstove in use for heating as the probable cause of a fire that gutted a single-family home at 195 Norman St. Tuesday night.
Capt. Michael A. Morin, city fire marshal, said the department’s investigation into the fire discovered at about 7:40 p.m. Tuesday pointed to the woodstove as the likely cause even though the heavy damage to the wood-frame structure would likely prevent a final determination from being made.
“The origin of the fire was in the basement where the woodstove was located,” Morin said. The fact the fire caused portions of the upper level of the home to collapse into the basement limited the department’s ability to provide a more definitive cause.
The stove was reported to have been loaded earlier in the evening and was being used to heat the home while plastering renovations were under way upstairs, Morin said.
The home’s owner, Sarah Provencher, and her boyfriend were completing the renovations while planning to move into the home, Morin said.
Firefighters arriving on scene found the dwelling fully involved in flames and Morin said it appeared the fire had been burning for a time unnoticed in the vacant dwelling due to it being set back down a long drive in the isolated city neighborhood.
“The floor had burned out in the back of the building and a portion of the roof had also collapsed,” Morin said while noting fire officials determined the structure to be unsafe to enter and fight the blaze inside. City firefighting units completed the mop up of the fire by approximately 10:30 p.m.
The structure was heavily damaged and it remained unclear on Wednesday whether the insured home could be repaired or would have to be razed. Morin said it was fortunate that the owner had not yet moved belongings or furnishings into the home given the extent of the fire and the potential for further loss. No one was reported to have been injured in the incident, Morin said.