SWANSEA — Chief Eric Hajder reports that the Swansea Fire Department responded to a fire at Bethany Gospel Chapel Friday evening.
At Approximately 8:40 p.m., Swansea Firefighters were dispatched to Bethany Gospel Chapel, 62 Lindsey Lane, for a report of a possible fire. Upon arrival, firefighters observed smoke throughout all three levels of the building and initiated an aggressive search for the source of the smoke.
Fire was ultimately found burning inside the floors and walls on three levels of the structure, and crews quickly began an attack to extinguish the flames. The fire was extinguished within 45 minutes of the crews’ arrival, but firefighters remained on scene for hours conducting overhaul of the building.
The fire is believed to have smoldered within the walls and floors for approximately an hour prior to the department’s arrival.
“Thankfully, our crews were able to work quickly and effectively to spare the worship area, offices and classrooms from damage,” Chief Hajder said. “I want to thank our mutual aid partners for their support both on-scene and covering our vacant stations, and commend all who worked together so seamlessly to bring this fire under control.”
No civilians were injured as a result of the fire, but one member of the Swansea Fire Department was transported to a local hospital by Swansea Ambulance for evaluation.
The Somerset and Warren (Rhode Island) Fire Departments provided support on scene, while crews from the Warren and Dighton Fire Departments provided station coverage.
The cause of the fire is currently under investigation by Swansea Police and Fire and State Police assigned to the Office of the State Fire Marshal. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms also assisted in the investigation, as it does whenever a fire occurs at a house of worship. The early focus of the investigation is on an accidental cause.