CHARLESTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — Three children and their parents were transported to the hospital Thursday after a fire at their home in Charlestown.
Officials on scene said an off-duty police sergeant was driving by the Alton Carolina Road home when he spotted the fire.
According to Fire Chief Dan Rathbone, the family had already evacuated when crews arrived.
Three children – ages 1, 5, and 16 years old – were hurt in the fire, along with parents Melissa and Christopher Poulin. The family has seven children between them, but the rest were at school at the time of the fire.
“From what I understand, [Christopher] cracked the windows and put them outside out the windows….because there wasn’t any time to think.”
There apparently was not even time to call 911, because the fire chief says they never got a call–instead, off-duty Charlestown Sgt. Phil Gingerella happened to be driving by and stopped to help the family. He called in to dispatch, which immediately sent ambulances and fire engines.
“I’m thanking god that they got out,” said Judy Gray, who is Melissa Poulin’s aunt. “You hate to see anything like this happen, but thank god…it could be worse. It could be a lot better. We just pray for the best.”
Crews were able to knock down the fire within 15-20 minutes, but not before it destroyed the home.
The office of the State Fire Marshal are now investigating the cause, which the chief said is not believed to be suspicious.
Window World of Rhode Island posted on their Facebook page Thursday that one of their installers is related to the victims. In an effort to help the family, the company is collecting donations such as gift cards, clothing, and other basic living needs at their 380 Jefferson Blvd. location in Warwick.