A fire destroyed a house at 174 Ayrault Road in East Greenwich Tuesday night. The house belonged to longtime local resident Don Lynch.
Lynch came home at about 8:30 Tuesday night to find his house on fire and called 911, according to East Greenwich Fire Marshal Steven Hughes. East Greenwich fire fighters were on the scene in four minutes, Hughes said.
East Greenwich and North Kingstown fire fighters were still working to extinguish the blaze at about midnight, and the cause was still unknown. Fire Chief Peter Henrikson said they believe the fire started in the basement.
"It was absolutely terrible," Henrikson said. "It was the most stubborn fire we've had in a long time."
Henrikson said the bitter cold weather and the heavy winds made the fire difficult to extinguish, as did the fact that the house is made of brick. Fire fighters had the blaze largely under control, but had to evacuate the building when the floor of the house started to give way.
Fire fighters said there was a dog in the house that had not been located as of midnight. Lynch could often be found walking the dog at Scalloptown Park.
Lynch, a longtime resident, raised his son in town and, in the early 1980's, built the East Greenwich Preschool on Tillinghast Road, which his ex-wife ran for many years.