Published January 03. 2014 10:00PM Updated January 03. 2014 11:45PM
Plainfield — A late afternoon fire at a three-story elderly housing facility on Babcock Avenue displaced 21 residents on Friday, according to the town's fire marshal.
Three residents were transported to the hospital for conditions including smoke inhalation, but Fire Marshal Paul Yellen said he believes they had all been released Friday evening.
The fire began around 4 p.m. Friday in an inside wall of a first-floor laundry room at the facility, according to Yellen. The flames extended to the outside wall and up to the ceiling between the first and second floors, but a fire sprinkler system helped contain the fire to two apartments, he said.
While the fire remains under investigation, an initial cause is that a contractor on scene was thawing a frozen pipe Friday that led to the ignition of combustible items inside the wall, he said.
After the fire broke out, residents from the Lawton House, which holds 22 units, were taken to the nearby Villa Marie Nursing Home and the Town Hall, according to the Associated Press.
The Red Cross responded to the scene and placed six displaced residents in hotels. Other residents are sheltering with their families, Yellen said.
The Plainfield, Central Village and Moosup fire departments were among the responders at the scene.