NARRAGANSETT – Although the official report will not be ready until later today, the Narragansett Fire Department said it was confident the blaze that erupted on the second floor of a home on Flintstone Road was caused by lightning striking the residence. The fire started around 9:35 p.m. Monday night. NFD reported no one was home at the time of the fire and no injuries occurred.
“It is pretty much confirmed that it was a lightning strike,” said Narragansett Fire Marshal Kevin Tuthill Thursday. “It’s based on witness testimony, the actual evidence that we have from the scene and being able to eliminate other sources.”
Tuthill said other possible causes inside the home were investigated by NFD before the department became confident the fire originated due to lightning striking the residence.
“The way we investigate fires is we go and form a hypothesis for every possible ignition source in the area of the fire,” he said. “There was a couple of electrical outlets, there was a fire place that was where the incoming electrical drop for the house was and there was a wall stop outside of the house, We look at every single one of those, and we kind of work backwards where you eliminate, and the one you have left that you cannot eliminate as a source of ignition, you then work with that, investigate and prove that it is the source of it.”
“We were able to eliminate [all of the above options] and we went back [to the residence] the next day and there was evidence of a lightning strike,” Tuthill continued. “We took photos of where we believe lightning hit the house’s chimney and traveled through the fireplace.”
According to Tuthill, the two-story home possessed a wood chimney with metal piping inside that extended about eight to 10 feet above the roof.
NFD further reported no one was home at the time of the incident. The fire was initially spotted by the children of neighbors across the street who were watching TV when they heard a bang and looked out to see the flames and informed their parents of the blaze. The parents then contacted NFD at 9:41 p.m. and immediately took precautions to make sure none would be harmed by the fire: with one entering the burning residence to let out a dog who was inside the home and the other attempting to contain the flames with a garden hose.
“They were honestly phenomenal neighbors,” said Tuthill. “But obviously, we don’t encourage or suggest anyone to run into a burning building. Still, we appreciate what they did. Everyone did a phenomenal job. The guys who were on duty also did a great job getting there in a timely manner, being able to contain the fire and still managing to save enough of the house so we could conduct an investigation into the cause of the fire.”
Tuthil said the fire was able to be contained to one corner of the home’s second floor and reported relatively minor fire damage with some water damage to the residence. NFD cleared the scene around 12:30 a.m.