Wood-frame houses are particularly vulnerable to fire while they're under construction. if a fire starts while a new house is still a bare frame, or an older home is in the middle of a major renovation, fire can spread rapidly. That's when the wood framing is exposed, fire separation walls aren't finished, and chases or cavities connecting various parts of the building are still unblocked. So when fire started in the historic Stonor Lodge in Newport, Rhode Island, last month, the flames took just minutes to take hold, and scarcely an hour to engulf the entire structure.
Eyewitness cell phone videos of the scene are dramatic (see below).
And according to news reports from local station WPRI, fire investigators had no immediate information on the cause of the fire (see below).