A smokey fire that destroyed a home on the corner of Hazelwood and Spruce streets in East Providence Sunday morning has been ruled accidental with an undetermined cause.
"It doesn't look suspicious," said Fire Chief Oscar Elmasian. "But the floors were so weakened by the fire that I couldn't send anybody back into the basement to say for sure. But that's where we think it started."
The Cape-style house will be demolished, Elmasian said.
"It will come down tomorrow," he said. "We had to take the house apart piece by piece to put out the fire."
No one was in the house when the fire started, Elmasian said. The residents were with relatives. The house is believed to be owned by Joseph Cavaco Sr.
Firefighters responded around 6:30 am in 11-degree cold on snow-covered streets after getting a call from neighbors who said they smelled smoke.
Elmasian said the same firefighters at the blaze were on duty already for around 48 hours. They had to extinguish a separate smaller fire hours earlier.
"I can't say enough about them," said Elmasian. "I could see the fatigue on their faces after answering all kinds of calls in the storm and then fighting two fires."
The firefighters ran hoses along streets still mostly covered with snow and ice from the blizzard that roared through East Providence on Friday and Saturday and blacked out most of the city until Saturday evening.
See East Providence Patch story and photos.