Chief: Oakwood Gardens fire offers a good reminder on safety

Chief: Oakwood Gardens fire offers a good reminder on safety

NORTH PROVIDENCE - In the early morning hours of Dec. 12, a fire broke out in an apartment at the Oakwood Gardens at 569 Smithfield Road. Fire Chief Leonard Albanese Jr. is using the circumstances of the fire as a lesson in fire safety.

According to a news release from Albanese's office, the cause of the fire "was improper use and disposal of smoking materials." Most likely the occupant was smoking in bed or improperly disposed of a cigarette in the immediate area of the bed.

Officials from the North Providence Fire Department are advising residents to never smoke in sleeping areas. Also, pay close attention to candles and ensure that smoke detectors are installed properly and maintained in working order.

Albanese said it is noteworthy that managers of the apartment complex recently installed a municipal fire alarm system. The system, a major objective of the town's fire marshal's office for the past few years, "provided for early detection and notification of the fire department, which assisted in the favorable outcome."

The Oakwood Gardens alarm was received at 1:16 a.m. on Dec. 12. Firefighters arrived within minutes to find an occupant with burn injuries at the door of his apartment, with a big fire in the upper level of the unit.

Firefighters got the occupant out and began an aggressive offensive attack. They stretched attack lines, conducted searches and vented the roof in order to contain the fire and assist in the entry under extreme conditions of high heat and low visibility.

The fire was brought under control within 25 minutes, contained to the apartment of origin. The remainder of the multi-unit apartment complex was cleared for residents to return.

The man injured in the fire suffered first-degree burns and smoke inhalation. There were no firefighter injuries.