WEST WARWICK — A fire in West Warwick early Wednesday morning claimed the life of a 41-year-old man, who the fire chief says died while helping his uncle to safety.
The West Warwick Fire Department responded after receiving a call at around 3:20 a.m. to the home on New London Turnpike near the corner of Claire Street.
The home was heavily involved when first responders arrived, West Warwick Fire Chief Jeffrey Varone said, and there was a report that one of its two occupants was still inside.
“The companies made a very aggressive rescue attempt,” Varone said late Wednesday morning.
He said the victim perished after waking his uncle to get him out of the burning home. The two were unable to exit through the door, he said, so they returned to the bedroom where one occupant was able to climb out through the window.
His other collapsed before making it out.
Firefighters fought hard to reach the victim, Varone said, but he succumbed to his injuries before he could be rescued.
“The guys gave it their best effort in trying to get to the victim, to the point where they injured themselves trying to get there,” he said.
Two firefighters, Lt. Wayne Johnson and Lt. Eric Moreau, received second-degree burns while trying to rescue the victim. They were treated and later released from Rhode Island Hospital, Varone said.
There were also two police officer injuries.
The uncle was transported to the hospital with serious injuries.
West Warwick firefighters were assisted by Coventry, East Greenwich, Warwick and Cranston.
The fire’s origin is under investigation by the West Warwick Fire Prevention Division and the Office of the State Fire Marshal.