Local News, Mobile, News, Providence, Top Video

Fire at Textron building under control

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Providence firefighters battled a fire on the roof of a high-rise building downtown Sunday morning.

The fire was on the roof of the Textron building at 40 Westminster Street and was reported shortly before 11 a.m. Sunday.

One firefighter suffered a minor injury but is expected to be okay.

According to witnesses, the plume of thick black smoke could be seen from as far away as Jamestown.

Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare told Eyewitness News that the fire had been extinguished, and it was contained to an HVAC unit on the roof. There was no other damage to the building.

“That’s the key, get here quick and knock it down so it doesn’t penetrate into the building,” said Pare. “It was on the roof.”

Pare said it’s a challenge to fight a fire on top of a high-rise building.

“It was a matter of getting water up on the rooftop and knocking it down before it spread,” Pare said. “They train for this, but you have to bring up a lot of equipment up to that rooftop.”

Textron spokesperson Dave Sylvestre said Sunday the building would open as normal on Monday. There are multiple other HVAC units to heat the building. Textron building management would be inspecting the roof, Sylvestre said.

Textron, an aerospace conglomerate, is headquartered in the building. It is one of the only two Fortune 500 companies in Rhode Island – the other being CVS.

According to the company’s website, the 24-story building was built in the 1970s and is one of the tallest in the state.

Brian Yocono contributed to this report.

Crime, Local News, Mobile, News, SE Mass

Police catch armed assault suspect after massive manhunt

[anvplayer video=”714244″ /] WESTPORT, Mass. (WPRI) — Several dozen officers were involved in a manhunt for an armed assault suspect in Westport Saturday night.

“They told us to stay in the house,” said Sean Leach, who lives on the quiet dirt lane off of Division Road. “We saw about 20 or 30 different types of police cars – state, armored vehicles, police sheriffs…the police helicopter circling above, and K9 units.”

Police were searching for 43-year-old Paul Boudria, after receiving a call from family members that he assaulted them with a gun. Police say Boudria threatened a female relative with a rifle, hitting her in the stomach with the butt of the weapon, and hit her 13-year-old daughter in the face.

Police say Boudria then fled into the nearby woods, armed with the rifle they say he was carrying illegally.

“We got a robo-call probably about 10 o’clock that there was an armed suspect in the woods. A white male with a red sweatshirt,” Leach said.

(Westport Police Department photo)
(Westport Police Department photo)

Police used infrared technology from above, and K9s below, to track Boudria. More than 40 officers were involved. It was a K9 who eventually traced him at about 12:30 a.m. Sunday, ending an intense six hours in an otherwise quiet neighborhood.

“This is a pretty quiet part of town, and not much goes on here,” Leach said. “The only problems we have here are with deer and raccoons. Not more of anything else, so this was a surprise.”

Police found the rifle in some bushes.

Boudria is being charged with three counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, assault and battery on a child and unlawful possession of a firearm. He is being held on bail until his arraignment Monday morning.

Neil Remiesiewicz contributed to this report.
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Crime, Local News, Mobile, News, Providence

Woman protesting over wages attacked, former employer arrested

[anvplayer video=”706126″ /] PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A man was charged with assault after a protest held by former workers of his closed Providence restaurant turned violent Saturday morning.

Police arrested Juan Noboa, charging him with assaulting a protester and a police officer.

Flor Salazar, one of the victims, showed us the bruises she sustained in the attack. A photo snapped by witnesses shows her being hit with a bat.

“Because my hand was in front of my face, it hit me on the hand,” she said, speaking with us in Spanish, while an interpreter translated into English. “Then he hit me again with the bat on the forearm. And when I turned around, he hit me again on the shoulder.”

Salazar is part of a group of workers claiming Juan Noboa and Jose Bren failed to pay them their full wages in 2014, when they helped open Cafe Atlantic in Providence.

“I worked two full months without getting paid,” Salazar said.

The workers took their complaints to the Department of Labor and Training. Records provided to Eyewitness News by labor group Fuerza Laboral (Power of Workers) shows Salazar was ordered to be paid $2,000, plus interest, on June 30. It’s less than half of the $7,000 she says she’s owed, and she says she’s yet to see a check.

The ruling for another worker, Oscar Leiva, says that he be paid eighteen dollars. Leiva told Eyewitness News he was paid for only three weeks of work he did between August 1 and Sept. 25, 2014.

“It’s really important for other workers to come forward and bring these complaints. And not be quiet,” Leiva said.

In response to the  decisions, Fuerza Laboral organized the protest outside Noboa’s home at 23 Julian Street Saturday morning. They began chanting, and knocked on his door. According to Salazar, Noboa answered and starting hitting her with the bat.

Salazar and Leiva say the protest is not just about getting their money about–but about inspiring other workers to speak out against unfair labor practices.

“I thought, what if it had been not just a bat, but a gun or any other type of weapon that could have been far more dangerous,” Salazar said with tears in her eyes,

According to a police report, an officer who responded to the scene was also assaulted by Noboa. The report says Noboa pushed Officer Christopher Beach, then engaged in a short scuffle after Beach chased him into the house.

Noboa was charged with felony assault with a dangerous weapon and simple assault of a police officer. He’s being held until the next court session on Monday.

Neil Remiesiewicz contributed to this report.

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Local News, Mobile, News, Providence, Top Video

Investigation underway after man dies in police custody

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – An investigation is underway after a man died in police custody Sunday morning, just about an hour after first responders were called to help him escape from an elevator.

Providence Police Chief Col. Hugh Clements told Eyewitness News that police and firefighters were called to the Carroll Tower apartment building at 243 Smith Street at about 4 a.m. for a report of a man stuck in an elevator.

Firefighters shut down the power to get the elevator doors open.

“Once the doors were open, fire and police encountered a combative, agitated man inside,” Col. Clements said.

The middle-aged man has not yet been identified, and police are not releasing details about what he did after he left the elevator that led to his arrest.

The man was taken into custody and placed in a police cruiser. Clements says he was taken to Rhode Island Hospital where he was pronounced dead at about 5 a.m.

When asked what happened to him in the cruiser, Col. Clements said the Medical Examiner would be doing an autopsy and determining the cause of death.

“It’s very unfortunate,” Col. Clements said.

“He was a confused guy,” said Millie Rossi, a resident of Carroll Tower who says she’s known the man for years and saw him Saturday night in the laundry room.

Rossi immediately agreed with the police chief’s description of the man as “combative” and “agitated.”

Col. Clements said police will likely identify the man Monday, after all family is notified.

As statewide policy dictates, the Attorney General’s office will do a review of the incident and oversee the police investigation. Rhode Island State Police are also assisting in the investigation.

Carroll Tower is operated by the Providence Housing Authority, a city agency.

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Local News, Mobile, News, West Bay

Coventry Fire District can’t make payroll, expected to vote on layoffs

[anvplayer video=”643476″ /] COVENTRY, R.I. (WPRI) – The financially troubled Coventry Fire District is once again forecasting that it won’t be able to make payroll.

In a letter sent to town officials, Fire District Board Chairman Frank Palin wrote that the district won’t be able to make payroll for its firefighters on September 4th.

“I sadly inform you that the district’s financial position may force us to layoff [sic] all our firefighters because we will be unable to pay them,” Palin wrote.

It’s not the first time the district has had problems paying the firefighters who work there; in July, cash flow problems resulted in firefighters being paid late.

“We are out of money,” Palin said in an interview Sunday. “We’re tapped out.” The district levies fire taxes from the 9,000 residents who live there, but Palin says it’s not enough to cover costs and the district has been at a deficit for years.

David Gorman, President of the Coventry Professional Firefighters Union, says he believes Palin’s layoff plan is political.

“We believe it’s a threat on his part,” Gorman said. “He’s the root cause of the collapse of the district.”

“If the union negotiated from the beginning, I wouldn’t have a problem,” Palin said.

Gorman says the union has offered a number of concessions to the board including the elimination of overtime and a reduction in force. Palin says the union’s contract doesn’t allow the Fire District to sub-contract with a private ambulance service that would bill the patient, not the taxpayers for its services.

“The choices are both bad,” Palin said of the decision the board is expected to make Monday night. “We lay them all off, we have no fire service. We don’t lay them off, we’re in violation of state labor laws because we don’t pay them.”

Last month, a group handed town officials a petition with 107 signatures to recall Frank Palin from his position, asking him to hold a special meeting about it. Palin has not yet done so, and said Sunday there was no recall provision in the town’s charter.

If the district does close, the closest fire station that could respond to emergencies would be Central Coventry – a district that is also going through financial troubles. The town also has two other fire districts.

Both Gorman and Palin agree a possible solution to the financial woes of fire districts in Coventry would be for town officials to create a municipal fire department, though the two sides don’t agree on how that should be done. The state sent a letter to town officials last month reminding them of their duty to protect residents.

Palin has asked the union to negotiate in an open session at Monday’s board meeting, something Gorman squarely rejects. Gorman says he will not be attending the meeting.

Three of the board’s five members would need to vote in favor of layoffs for the fire district to close.

Monday night’s meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Club Jogues at 184 Boston Street.