24 People Hospitalized After Fire Erupts at Rhode Island Rehab Center

24 People Hospitalized After Fire Erupts at Rhode Island Rehab Center
A fire truck is seen in this file photo taken in New York on Sept. 17, 2016. (Bryan R. Smith/AFP/Getty Images)
Lorenz Duchamps

At least two dozen patients were transported to nearby hospitals after a fire broke out Thursday evening at a respiratory and rehabilitation center in Rhode Island, authorities said.

The blaze, which started at about 9 p.m. at Genesis Respiratory and Rehabilitation Center, also displaced about 40 other residents due to water damage from the facility's sprinkler system, WPRI-TV reported. It is unclear what facilities rehoused displaced residents.

"Crews arrived on scene, made their way to the third floor. There was a small fire, but there were a lot of victims that were down on the floor, plus some people in the fire room," Hopkins Hill Fire Department Chief Frank Brown said.

The cause of the blaze is not yet clear and Brown said the State Fire Marshal’s office has launched an investigation into determining the cause.

The building's sprinkler system caused the alarm to go off and helped extinguish the blaze, which was contained to just one room, the fire chief said, adding that a lot of smoke spread into other parts of the facility, resulting in many patients suffering from smoke inhalation.

"But you know, there was a sprinkler system in there. So the sprinkler system, one sprinkler head went off and controlled this fire," Brown said. "[The blaze] did produce a lot of smoke that got out into the rest of the building. So that's kind of what we were dealing with. Most of the patients that were transported were transported for smoke inhalation."

The facilities' sprinkler system "saved lives tonight ... which is absolutely huge," Brown said, also noting that one nurse who was in the main room of the blaze inhaled "a little bit more smoke" and also had to be treated for hypothermia due to all the sprinkled water that came down her.

A total of 100 residents live at the facility in Coventry, about 15 miles southwest of Providence. According to its website, the center provides its patients with access to respiratory therapists, ventilators, and piped-in oxygen.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Lorenz Duchamps is a news writer for NTD, The Epoch Times’ sister media, focusing primarily on the United States, world, and entertainment news.