CHARLESTOWN — An 8-year-old boy alerted his grandparents to a fire in that totaled the couple’s free-standing garage and
caused a minor fire in the attic of the house Saturday evening about 6:40 p.m.
James and Doris Tarrant, of 44 Hoxie Ave., south of Route 1, said they were sitting in their living room when their grandson,
Kubrik Tarrant, said he smelled something. The boy stepped outside, saw the garage was on fire, returned inside and told his
James Tarrant, a retired New York City fireman with a 20-year career, guided his wife and grandson out of the house and safely
across the street where they waited for trucks from the Dunn’s Corner Fire Department to arrive, which Tarrant said took about 10
Dunn’s Corner Deputy Chief Carl Johnson said the garage was fully engulfed when his company arrived.
“The flames were 30 feet high,” he said. “There’s damage to the main house exterior, the siding is melted and there’s water
damage and minor smoke damage inside — it’s lucky the house was saved, it was very close.”
Firefighters reported that the fire had been brought under control by about 7:20 p.m.
The state fire marshal was on the scene and an investigation into the cause of the fire will be performed, Johnson said.
Four trucks from Dunn’s Corner relayed water from tanker trucks lined up on along Route 1 at the head of Hoxie Avenue, using as
much as 10,000 gallons of water to extinguish the fire.
Tankers from Ashaway, Hope Valley, Charlestown, Carolina, Richmond, and Dunn’s Corners provided water. Traffic on Route 1
North was reduced to one lane from the East Beach Road stoplight to the entrance to Hoxie Avenue.
The house is the Tarrants’ summer home, which they purchased in 1980, and they had returned last week from Florida, where
they live for six months of the year.
“We just put a new roof, siding, a new door, and the porch on last year — it was all in top-top shape ,” James Tarrant. “So now
we’ll start from scratch again.”
Doris Tarrant said only one neighbor lived on the street year round. “You never know, you never know,” she said. “I’ve always
thought about this, when you live in Florida and something happens to the house when you’re not here — our neighbors are here
all winter but these other people are not.”
The Tarrants said they weren’t sure what was stored in the garage except there were things they had brought when they
downsized from their New York home.
“There was at least 10 bins of stuff from when we moved up here 38 years ago,” he said.
“Antiques and things we were going to give to the kids.”
Kevin Ryan, a patrolman for Charlestown, checked that the couple and their grandson had a place to stay tonight because they
could not return to their home that evening.
“We’ll stay with neighbors,” Doris Tarrant said.
The flames were as high as the house, said Ryan. “It looked like a mushroom cloud,” he said. “It was also fortunate that the
propane tanks on the side of the garage did not blow. The trees at the back of the property burned.”
The Tarrants said they were proud of their grandson and his quick reaction about the fire.
“I just saw a bunch of smoke and when I saw a tiny bit closer, I saw flames,” Kubrick Tarrant said.
“I was dozing on the couch,” Doris Tarrant said.
“He’s a little hero,” James Tarrant said.