A young couple's plans to remodel 194 Norman St. are in ruins as the Woonsocket Fire Marshal continues investigating the cause of a fire that began in the basement Feb. 19 at least 30 minutes before firefighters were alerted.
The dwelling appears a loss, said Fire Marshal Mike Morin about the fire-wracked home. According to the city's tax assessor's database, the home was valued at $135,400. "It's a real sad situation," Morin said.
Morin said the fire definitely began in the basement, and was probably burning for 30-45 minutes before the fire department was notified by a 911 call. Since the home was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived at 7:45 p.m., Morin said the fire had to have been burning a while beforehand, likely reaching into the first floor before it was noticed by neighbors.
Morin said the house was being remodeled. The basement had just been plastered, he said, and the owner, a young woman who was preparing the house to move in with her partner, had left at 4:45 p.m.
Morin said the fire definitely began in the basement, where there was also a wood stove left burning, but the damage is so extensive it will be difficult to pinpoint the wood stove as the definite source. He said the area around the wood stove suffered the most damage, but, "We're not sure at this point," he said.
When fire crews arrived at the scene, the house was fully engulfed in flame and the roof had collapsed, Morin said. No one was injured in the blaze, he said.
While the loss is unfortunate, the couple hadn't moved any of their belongings into the house yet, so they were at least spared the destruction of personal momentos, furniture and clothes, Morin said.