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Willow Dell fire considered arson

July 13, 2011

Photo By Shaun Kirby

Evidence found on the scene indicates arson was the cause of Friday’s fire at Willow Dell Beach Club in Matunuck. Repairs are underway.

SOUTH KINGSTOWN – A fire that caused extensive damage last Friday inside the Willow Dell Beach Club on Card’s Pond Road in Matunuck is being treated as arson.

According to Union Fire District Chief Robert Perry between 60 and 75 firefighters arrived at the private beach club early Friday morning at 3:45 a.m. after receiving a call that there was smoke in the area of Roy Carpenter’s Beach.

When firefighters arrived at the beach club, Perry said they found half the clubhouse on fire.

“The fire was a good size when the first truck rolled in. Firefighters had to lay out 1,500 feet of hose to get to the fire,” Perry said.
Perry said the fire caused extensive damage to the office area of the beach club, running between 60 to 100 feet. All town fire stations were standing by. Perry said they extinguished the fire by 5:02 a.m. No one was injured.

Due to evidence found on scene, State Fire Marshall John Chartier states that “it overwhelmingly indicates arson fire.”
Although Chartier said he cannot comment on the specific evidence found, he said “we found evidence of flammable liquid throughout the building.”
To further the investigation, Chartier said the state fire marshal’s office is offering up to $5,000 in rewards to anyone with information on the fire.

“We hope that it will cause some folks to come forward with information. Hopefully that will lead to an arrest and a conviction,” Chartier said.
The club, which opened in the 1930s, remains open while repairs are being done. It was the second time the clubhouse burned. A fire in August of 2002 destroyed a previous clubhouse that had stood since 1987.
Friday’s blaze damaged about half the building. No arrests have been made.

For more information pick up a copy of The Narragansett Times.

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