Act of heroism saves one, hero dies
WEST WARWICK, R.I (WLNE) – Firefighters were on the scene of a deadly fire in West Warwick where a man died attempting to save a loved one.
West Warwick Fire Chief Jeffrey Varone told ABC6 on Wednesday evening that the victim is 41-year-old Jason Mather.
According to fire officials, the large fire started at 3:20 AM in the area of 1846 New London Turnpike, where an uncle and his nephew were living.
The Fire Chief said the 41-year-old nephew died in the flames.
He had an opportunity to escape from the fire but chose to stay inside and help his uncle.
“He went and woke his uncle up who was in another room,” West Warwick Fire Chief Jeffrey Varone said. “The two of them tried to get out and they couldn’t get out. The uncle went back and went out a window thinking the nephew was behind him.”
Chief Varone says the uncle made it out seriously injured, but alive.
When fire crews got on scene, they made an aggressive approach to enter the home and save the nephew, but the flames grew larger and the nephew never made it out.
Two firefighters and two police officers were also injured in the rescue, suffering burns, and cuts.
“It was a heroic act to go and save his uncle rather than just save himself to get out,” Fire Chief Varone said.
As the sun came up, neighbors woke up to the tragic news.
“Sad. It hasn’t hit me yet,” neighbor Richard Palmiere said. “Probably later on when I walk by, it’ll hit me.”
Palmiere and other neighbors walked by to find firefighters, police, EMA, and crime scene tape all surrounding the home as investigators pieced together what happened.
“I saw it on the news this morning, like wow,” Palmiere said. “I walk by this house every day on my routine to walk the dog, so now it’s sad to be here and walk by.”
The State Fire Marshal was also on scene and say the fire appears to be accidental. Investigators believe it was caused by clothing near a heater.
Some neighbors wonder if there were any smoke alarms.
“I was just talking to my friend about smoke alarms and fire safety,” Palmiere said. “We just installed them last night for our mother at our house. It’s a small cost to save a tragedy like this.”
ABC 6 News asked the West Warwick Fire Chief if there were any smoke alarms in the home and if they went off. Chief Varone says that’s all a part of the investigation.
Family of the 41-year-old who passed away started a GoFundMe page to raise money for the funeral costs. To view the GoFundMe, visit: https://gf.me/v/c/lsz/28t71a2ss0