By Asst. Chief Joseph Fusaro
July 21, 2022

Sunday July 17, 1994 was a typical July day. It was warm with temperatures in the mid-80's and medium humidity. The festivities for the annual Feast of Mount Carmel had concluded with the fireworks at Cimalore Field. As always Westerly firefighters provided an engine to cover the fireworks display. Engine 3 and the crew on the detail had just returned to the station. At 9:59 pm, Westerly Dispatch began receiving the first of half a dozen 911 calls reporting a fire in a vacant building opposite McQuade's Marketplace on Main St. Box 1123 for Main St at Union St was sounded. Engine 3 with a full crew was out the door of the station quickly and reported smoke showing as they exited the station. Engine 3 and Car 32 arrived at the same time and a working fire was confirmed. Flames were shooting out of the B-side. Engine 2 was next in and laid a supply line from 89 Main St. to supply Engine 3. While this was being accomplished Ladder 1 arrived and positioned on the D-side to ladder the roof. Engine 3's crew began the fire attack with 2 1 3/4 inch hose lines to the rear. Firefighters forced entry into the building. Engine 1 was directed to respond via Elm St. to School to Main St. Engine 1's crew was used to assist in raising ground ladders around the building. Lights were run from Ladder 1 to the rear. Engine 2 had crews stretch 2 1 3/4 inch hose lines via the front. The fire was rapidly knocked down. Extensive overhaul was needed. 50 Westerly firefighters responded to this incident. Chief Joseph Misto requested the Fire Marshal's office to investigate the cause of the fire as the building was vacant. RI State Fire Marshal Donald Byrne was lead investigator and determined the fire was arson. Westerly Police worked in conjunction with investigators from the Fire Marshal's office. Westerly Police also worked with Stonington Police who were investigating an arson fire in Pawcatuck several weeks before. No one was ever charged in the case.


Westerly Fire Department June 10, 2022 at 6:46 AM