Home destroyed in massive fire in Johnston

By: Amanda Pitts



JOHNSTON, R.I. (WLNE) – A home on Finne Road in Johnston is a total loss after a fire broke out Sunday afternoon.

The Johnston Fire Department responded around 12:20 p.m. and were met with a fully involved fire throughout the home.

“We took what we call a defensive approach, that is we did not enter the structure or anywhere near.”

Johnston Fire Chief Peter Lamb said crews ran into a big problem a few minutes into fighting the flames.

“We’re having extreme difficulties with water supply. We do not have enough water to fight this fire,” said Chief Lamb.

The closest fire hydrant was nearly 4,000 feet away. Tankers from neighboring towns had to respond to help with the water crisis.


According to Chief Lamb, two people were inside the home and got out safely.

The town and state fire marshal are still investigating the cause, but they say the homeowner was working on his motorcycle in the garage, and fuel leaked out.

“There was an ignition source from a propane heater in the garage, the vapors from the gasoline from the motorcycle probably ignited,” said Tom Marcello, Johnston Fire Marshal.

The flames spread in minutes and destroyed a car in the driveway.


18-year-old Brandon Diggle was one of the first on scene.

“We were driving to get my grandmother flowers for mothers day, and we looked to our right and there was a bunch of black smoke. Then within like 5 to 10 minutes, it was gone.”

Diggle watched the crews work and commended their efforts to try and save the home.

“They all came, they all had a game plan immediately. Our hearts just dropped, just to make sure everyone was okay. It’s just sad on Mother’s Day, it’s unfortunate.”

The Red Cross is assisting the family.

© WLNE-TV 2019