WESTERLY — A family of five has been displaced following a Sunday afternoon fire that significantly damaged a home along Argyle Drive.
The family, two adults and three children, was able to retain numerous personal effects including important documents and clothing, however, thanks to an effort by firefighters to protect important belongings, according to Dunn’s Corners Fire Chief Christopher DeGrave.
“At this point, it is safe to say there was nothing suspicious,” said DeGrave, who noted the cause and origin remain under investigation through the Division of the State Fire Marshal. “The fire appears to have started outside the home before spreading into the attic.”
Dunn’s Corners firefighters were called to the home, located at 13 Argyle Drive, after a passerby reported seeing heavy smoke come from the house around 2:30 p.m. DeGrave said a member of the department who lives nearby confirmed the blaze before officials arrived, noting flames were showing outside the home and spreading quickly along the roofline.
DeGrave said volunteers with the department were able to provide quick response and contained the fire to a south section of the building and an attic area, which was burning hot and initially threatened to spread to the rest of the home. Firefighters also battled heavy winds, which DeGrave said presented an added challenge that could have caused the fire spread.
The blaze was contained very quickly, however, and DeGrave said members were able to set up a perimeter to prevent the blaze from spreading to a portion of the home containing bedrooms. The efforts prevented damage to important personal belongings including paperwork and clothing, DeGrave said, although heavy damage was sustained to furniture and other items in the house.
“Unfortunately, the home was not inhabitable,” DeGrave said. “They lost a lot but members went above to make sure they were able to preserve clothing and other belongings, and family were brought in and allowed to collect those later on.”
No injuries were reported. The family was not home when the fire began, officials said, and the exact cause remains under investigation.
According to Westerly property records, the home is a raised ranch that was built in 1974 and is listed at 2,600 square feet including 1,200 square feet of living area. It is owned by the Umile Ritacco Trust Agreement. Those living in the home were renters, officials confirmed, but were not identified.