BY JOSEPH B. NADEAU
WOONSOCKET – A fire, possibly fueled by the area’s dry conditions, heavily damaged a single-family home at 133 Spring Water Drive Tuesday afternoon.
The fire, discovered by neighbors at about 2:15 p.m. appeared to have begun near the front section of the home and consumed a deck porch and front exterior wall before firefighters arrived on scene.
Woonsocket Fire Chief Gary Lataille said he spotted a tall column of smoke coming from the Spring Water Drive location when he looked out of his office window as the call came into fire headquarters on Cumberland Hill Road.
“I can tell you it had a big head start on us,” Lataille said. Once on scene firefighters were able to make an entry into the home and knock down the fire quickly with the help of the city’s aerial ladder truck.
A neighbor had smelled smoke in the area and went outside to find smoke coming from the nearby single-family home, according to Latallie.
The owner of 133 Spring Water Drive, Smithfield Fire Lt. John Coyne, said he had gone to pick up his daughter, Jackie, at school and came home to find his house fully engulfed in flames.
His wife, Dawn, was also away at the time, and only the family’s three Yorker Poo dogs were inside. One of the dogs, Marley, was already out of the burning house when Coyne arrived at the scene with Jackie but Buddy and the youngest of the dogs, Chewy, were still thought to be inside.
“I’m not sure what happened yet,” Coyne said while noting he was still awaiting word on the family’s missing dogs.
Not long after, Woonsocket firefighters located Buddy inside the dwelling, smoky and with some singed fur, but alive. The third family Yorker, Chewy, died in the fire.
Woonsocket Firefighter Brandon Labrie gave Buddy oxygen at the scene and he was reunited with Jackie and Marley on the front lawn of a neighbor’s home.
Coyne said he believed his family would be staying with relatives while the damage to their home was assessed. The house was insured, he noted, but what repairs would be required was still undetermined.
Smithfield Fire Department Deputy Chief Jim Grenga arrived at the scene to offer help to Coyne’s family. “We are going to do whatever we can to support him,” Grenga said.