Boy, 7, left alone, ignites couch after lighting candle, displacing 16

PROVIDENCE — Mom had to leave for work, and Dad wasn’t home yet, so a 7-year-old boy was left by himself in a third-floor apartment.

Firefighters were called to a building on Hudson Street in the Armory District of the West End at 5:21 p.m. Thursday after the boy lit a candle and accidentally ignited a couch, Battalion Chief Kevin Jutras said.

Firefighters arrived within three minutes, Jutras said. By then, the boy had gone to a window and banged on it, calling for help. He drew the attention of two people who were parking a car, and they ran up the back stairs to rescue him, Jutras said.

Firefighters put out the burning couch quickly while others searched for more children, finding none inside. Later, the Red Cross counted 9 children and 7 adults who needed alternate shelter because dripping water and wet floors required the electricity to be shut off.

The boy was taken to Hasbro Children’s Hospital for observation of possible smoke inhalation.

The rescuers were taken to Rhode Island Hospital, also for observation, Jutras said.

Although it had burned for only a few minutes, the couch was down to bare metal, Jutras said.

Because the child had been left alone, firefighters had to notify police, who had to notify DCYF. The mother returned home and spoke with police, Jutras said.

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