Providence Fire Department


Providence Fire Chief  Clarence A. Cunha is retiring after almost 35 years with the capital city’s fire department.

Cunha has reached the mandatory retirement age of 60. His retirement is not related to the ongoing negotiations between the union representing firefighters and the administration of Mayor Jorge Elorza, said mayoral spokesman Evan England.

``This didn’t come as a surprise,’’ said England. ``It is not related to the platoon talks.’’

Elorza said in a statement that Assistant Chief Scott Mello will take over as chief on an interim basis.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza said Thursday an independent analysis shows Rhode Island's capital city will face a stream of annual structural deficits of between $11 million and $19 million, starting in July 2016, and he called for new steps to strengthen the city's financial standing.


So Buddy Cianci is back in the campaign for Providence mayor. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay reminds us that he isn’t the only candidate.

Every newsroom used to have a crusty city editor who berated young reporters. Mine was a revered Providence Journal editor named Al Johnson who barked, ``put them in the ambulance before you take them to the hospital’’ when he wanted a story about a car accident.

Mayor Angel Taveras reports that for the first time in the 159-year history of the Providence Fire Department, a women recruit –Alison Philbrick, 28, of North Providence – is graduating at the top of the 54-member recruit class.

The new recruits range in age from 20 to 44, include 20 Providence residents and three women. Four grads are military veterans, two of whom served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This year marks the 50th class of fire academy graduates in Providence.

John Bender / RIPR

Dozens of people were evacuated from buildings on the outskirts of downtown Providence following an underground explosion yesterday.

National grid confirmed that the explosion was caused by pressure built up inside an underground utility vault.

Sarah Longley from was working in the Women and Infants building on Chestnut Street only feet away from the explosion.

A fire that sent two people to the hospital in critical condition was caused by a child playing with matches.  Firefighters say the child was one of the victims. 

Five-year-old Christopher Etienne set a mattress and himself on fire when he played with matches Sunday night at a duplex in the Washington Park neighborhood of Providence.  Firefighters found him and 43-year-old Christopher Husband lying outside the Virginia Avenue home with severe burns. Acting Providence fire Chief Michael Dillon says the boy was the more seriously injured of the two.