Rehoboth fire

Rehoboth’s senior center was destroyed by fire on Saturday.

REHOBOTH -- The town's senior center was destroyed by fire Saturday, leaving the town's oldest population without a home.

The two-alarm blaze was reported by passersby about 5:15 p.m. at the building at 55 Bay State Road (Route 118).

The senior center quickly became engulfed in flames and the roof of the one-story building that also houses the Council on Aging collapsed.

Firefighters with the aid of water tankers were still fighting the fire early Saturday night before getting it under control and extinguishing the blaze.

Thick black smoke could be seen for miles -- even from Providence, and Seekonk public safety received phone calls from residents believing there was a fire in that town.

The fire was reported to have started in the back of the building where the kitchen and boiler were located, and spread within 10 minutes to the front of the structure.

No one was inside the building at the time of the fire as it is closed on weekends, and no firefighters were reported injured.

Firefighters were forced to fight the fire from outside the building after the ceiling started caving in, fire officials said. Flames traveled swiftly through the attic.

Plainville and other area fire departments sent tankers to assist. Attleboro and Berkley firefighters also helped out at the scene.

Demolition crews worked into the night to tear down what remained of the building. The front of the structure had been the only recognizable part that had still been standing.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation but a generator had been running, fire officials said.

Norton and Seekonk firefighters helped cover Rehoboth fire stations, and Mansfield firefighters covered the Norton station.

The senior center, officially named the Gladys L. Hurrell Senior Center, had been a popular spot for the town's sizeable and growing senior population.

The center had served as one of three polling locations for elections in town until the polls were consolidated at Palmer River Elementary School for the Sept. 1 state primary and Nov. 3 general election.

Stephen Peterson can be reached at 508-236-0377.

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