Barrington house fire — blaze starts under boiler


Overheated floor boards could be to blame for a house fire on Blanding Avenue early Wednesday morning, Jan. 8.

The homeowner at 37 Blanding Ave. called the fire department at about 2:30 a.m. after detecting an odor inside the house. By the time crews arrived a few minutes later, “smoke was pouring out the front door.”

Barrington Fire Department Lt. Scott Carroll said there was heavy smoke inside the home and that crews tracked the source to a boiler located inside a closet on the first floor.

He said it appeared that heat from the boiler eventually caught the floorboards on fire. “We’ve seen this before, when the heat system sits on a wood floor... it can happen,” he said.

Firefighters cut a hole in the living room floor to access the subfloor, and upon doing so were greeted with flames. Crews from Barrington and East Providence — the neighboring department sent two trucks to assist with the fire — worked to knock down the flames that had spread to the floor joists.

Firefighters had the fire contained after about 20 minutes, but needed to spend more time searching to see if hot spots had spread to other parts of the structure.

The temperature had dipped to the single digits early Wednesday morning, which could have played a factor in the situation. Lt. Carroll said firefighters were forced to rely entirely upon the 750-gallon water tank in the fire engine to fight the blaze. He said the caps for the nearest two fire hydrants were frozen solid and could not be used.

Crews cleared the scene by about 4:30 a.m.

The house was reportedly uninhabitable after the fire.


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