PAWTUCKET â€” A suspicious fire that heavily damaged a vacant two-family house at 6 Bloomingdale Ave., near the intersection with Dix Avenue, late Monday night is under investigation by city and state fire officials.
Fire Capt. Robert Thurber, the cityâ€™s fire marshal, said firefighters were called to the wood-frame dwelling at around 10:30 p.m. They extinguished the fire, but had to return several hours later, at around 4 a.m. on Tuesday, when a â€śhot spotâ€ť ignited a second blaze underneath the ceiling on the first floor.
Thurber said the blaze started on the porch on the Dix Avenue side of the house. â€śIt went in through the stairwell and up into the upper floors. It acted like a chimney due to the construction,â€ť said Thurber. He added that the house had been vacant for several years and there was no electrical or gas service, so the cause is likely arson or accidental from someone smoking nearby.
Thurber said the incident is still being investigated by the state Fire Marshalâ€™s Office, ATF and Pawtucket Police. He said a few witnesses had been interviewed, but officials are still trying to piece together what happened. There were no injuries reported.
Thurber added that the owner of the property reportedly did not have insurance on it.
City tax records list the owner of the house as El Hosri Antoine, of Mendon, Mass. Records show that the house, built in 1901, was last valued by the tax assessorâ€™s office at $134,400. Antoine purchased the property in 2012 from the Bank of America for $35,000.