(Updated, Dec. 29, 3:40 p.m.) EAST PROVIDENCE — A 73-year-old man has died at Rhode Island Hospital from injuries suffered after a fire broke out at his home on 114 Providence Ave. in the Riverside section of the city Saturday morning, Dec. 29.Clifford Franke suffered “severe” burns due to the blaze, according to East Providence Fire Department Chief Joseph Klucznik at the scene. Engine 2, Ladder 1 and Rescue 2 from the department’s Station 2 on Bullocks Point Avenue were first to respond to the call, which came at 10:47 a.m.
Police reported Mr. Franke’s death at approximately 3:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon.
“The house is intact, but as you can see the fire destroyed the interior,” Chief Klucznik, working his final shifts as department head before retiring Dec. 30, said.
“The firefighters did the primary search,” the chief continued. “They found the victim, then they went to work on the fire. The man was treated at the scene then taken to the hospital.”
The cause of the blaze is under investigation. Investigators from the fire and police departments went to the hospital to talk with Mr. Franke’s family members in an effort to find out more information.
“It’s a tight, congested neighborhood. The guys took every precaution,” the chief added. “It didn’t take very long to knock down the fire. Now, the pain-staking process of the investigation begins.”
According to neighbors, Mr. Franke, a widower, has lived alone at 114 Providence Ave. for the better part of 10 years. He is believed to have been alone at the time of the fire. He and his family have owned the property for nearly five decades. Mr. Franke is known to be classic car aficionado, who owns an antique truck. The family pet, a dog, is said to have perished in the blaze as well.
“He’s a good guy, a nice guy,” said Ken Olson, a neighbor to the rear of Mr. Franke who has lived on Providence Avenue since 1947. “He’s a quiet, friendly guy.”