Longtime resident, neighbor who rescued him speak out after Providence fire

By John Krinjak

Email: jkrinjak@abc6.com

Twitter: @johnkrinjakABC6

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — A family of four is safe and sound after escaping from their burning home in Providence Tuesday.

Stories of heartbreak and heroism are emerging from what was a very chaotic scene. 

The West Street home is a total loss following the fire that broke out around 2PM.

Crews were on scene for several hours, but it’s what happened before firefighters showed up that’s giving the family which lived there a lot to be thankful for this holiday.

As smoke and flames began to consume the second floor and attic of the home, neighbor Jennifer Steele and her friend David jumped into action. 

"We heard two women screaming. We immediately jumped out of the car, ran towards them, tried to figure out if there’s anybody else in the house," said Steele.

They ran in to find 84-year-old William Furloag.

"I did guide him out of the house, and David opened the doors to the other rooms to make sure nobody else, there was a dog that was in there. He was also guided out, and we left the house. And it went down very quickly after that," said Steele.

I asked her if she felt afraid as she entered the burning home. "In the moment, no. My adrenaline was going so much. The smoke was very thick when we walked in so we did kind of mask ourselves with our clothing. But we just reacted, it was a reaction. And I think anybody would have done that," said Steele.

"I lived here 80 years," said Furloag.

He’s devastated by the loss of a place he’s called home nearly his whole life. 

"I tried to go back upstairs to get the cats but all I seen was black, black smoke and the three cats died. So……oof, its tough, its tough. Now I got no place to live, I got no clothes, I got nothing," said Furloag. 

He’s glad his family is safe, and that they’ll be able to spend Thanksgiving together–even if it isn’t in their home. 

"Life goes on. Tomorrow’s another day. Life doesn’t stop because of this. I lost two wives already. Life didn’t stop. So it ain’t going to stop now," said Furloag. 

The Red Cross is putting up Furloag and his family for the next few days.

A fire captain was treated at Rhode Island Hospital after falling down a flight of stairs while fighting the fire. 

The cause of the remains under investigation.

©WLNE-TV / ABC6 2017