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Roof collapses on new R.I. tower ladder, turning bucket into a ‘fire pit’

Providence Fire Chief Derek Silva said it was “mere seconds” from when firefighters had stepped off the bucket to when part of the burning roof fell



By Bill Carey
FireRescue1 Staff

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A new Providence fire truck is out of service after a partial roof collapse during a fire in a multi-family home that caused considerable damage.

Firefighters responded to a fire on Stanwood Street and used the bucket of Tower Ladder One to reach the third floor and enter to search for people inside, WPRI reported. Tower Ladder One is one of two tower ladders in the department.

As firefighters were searching inside, a portion of the burning roof fell into the tower ladder’s bucket. “When it was extended in the air, that roof came down into the bucket and effectively turned the inside of this bucket into a fire pit,” Chief Derek Silva said.

Firefighters attempted to extinguish the fire inside the bucket but were ordered to evacuate from the home. The firefighters who used the bucket to get inside found other ways to evacuate.

“It was seconds or mere minutes from when they stepped off that bucket into that window until that portion of the roof collapsed in the bucket,” Silva said. “Had things been different, had they remained in the bucket they would have been injured and possibly something worse.”

Tower Ladder One was placed into service in 2021. Silva said it is worth approximately $1.4 million.

Despite the significant damage, the fire truck is not a total loss. The extent of the damage and the cost to fix it is still being determined. Silva said operations will not be interrupted while the truck is out of service.