Newport, RI – Kitchen fire at historic senior apartment building controlled by sprinkler system

Two apartments at Clarke School Apartments, 24 Mary St., remained uninhabitable as of Friday afternoon due to fire, smoke and water damage in one apartment and water damage in a second apartment below it, according to Fire Chief Brian Dugan.  The report of a fire in a third-floor apartment came in on Wednesday at about 2:10 p.m. and people were evacuating the building when firefighters arrived, Dugan said.

There was a stovetop fire in the kitchen that had activated the sprinkler system, which did a good job of controlling the damage, Dugan said. The fire was doused within 10 minutes after firefighters arrived, and most of that time was spent getting hoses and equipment up to the apartment, he said.  No cause of the fire had been established as of Friday and it remains under investigation, Dugan said.

One of the tenants has received living accommodations through the Red Cross, according to the fire chief. Reports from tenants said three elderly residents in all have not been able to return to their apartments.  Residents said there is some water and smoke damage in other apartments that remain occupied.

The Clarke School was built in 1915 and underwent a historic renovation in 1994 when it was developed into more than 50 privately operated affordable apartments. The apartments are reserved for people 55 or older, as well as disabled individuals, and some income restrictions apply.

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