2010-12-23 / Front Page

BREAKING NEWS: Fire destroys north end home

By Geoff Campbell

About 45 firefighters reported to a late evening fire on Dec. 23 which destroyed the home of Stephen and Helen Benjamin at 1235 North Main Road in Jamestown.

The Benjamin family was reported to be at their winter residence, according to a family friend, who aptly called it "shocking news on Christmas eve." The home’s tenant was away from the property at the time of the fire. 

According to Jamestown Fire Chief Jim Bryer, the call came in around 9:30 p.m. In addition to the Jamestown firefighters, crews from North Kingstown, Newport, Middletown and Exeter responded to the fire. As part of the "Tanker Task Force," North Kingstown sent two pumpers, and Exeter sent one as well. One of the off-island crews maintained watch at the Jamestown Fire Station in case another call was received. About 15 firefighters from the neighboring towns provided support.

Bryer said that the north end location of the home, across from the town’s transfer station, is nearly the furthest point from the station on the island. When the firefighters arrived the house was "pretty involved," he said.

The "wind pushed through, rolling the fire through the house," Chief Bryer added.

The caused of the fire is under investigation, a typical scenario, according to Bryer who said that treating the fire as a crime scene allows local and state fire marshals to examine the scene without disruption. "It is a crime scene until we make sure it isn't," he added. 

One Jamestown firefighter suffered minor injuring while getting ready to respond to the fire alarm. Chief Bryer said the firefighter was sent to the hospital and was fine.

 

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