Rehoboth Senior Center Destroyed by Fire
The town’s Senior Center caught fire late Saturday afternoon and burned to the ground, despite the best efforts of the Rehoboth Fire Department. Residents who were walking by the building at 55 Bay State Road at 5:15 pm spotted the blaze. The fast-moving fire started in the rear of the building where the kitchen and boiler are located and spread within 10 minutes to the front of the structure. Firefighters were forced to fight the fire from the outside after the ceiling collapsed. The building was unoccupied at the time and no firefighter injuries were reported. Fire crews from Plainville and other nearby towns provided assistance.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Bradley Marshall, who has served as an Outreach Worker for the Council on Aging, noted a Medicare log book, containing 1000 access codes, was lost in the fire. “If anybody wants to see me for open enrollment in a month and a half, I have no idea where we’re going to be,” Marshall said on Sunday. “If they don’t have their paperwork, then I will not be able to help them. Every year, over 900 people come to my office just for open enrollment alone. I see over 3000 people throughout the year. All that information has been burned.”
An emergency meeting of the Board of Selectmen has been scheduled for the morning on September 14th. Selectman Jim Muri, who is the board’s liaison to the Council on Aging department, will be working to secure a temporary location for the staff so they can continue to provide essential services for the elderly population, including medical services, heating assistance, and food. “That is a lifeline to (seniors),” Chairman Skip Vadnais said, noting the continuation of services would be the focus for the board right now.
As for a new facility, Vadnais said the process could take awhile. Bids have to be accepted, architectural designs need to be approved, and funding has to be secured.
A message posted Sunday on the Fire Department’s Facebook page said if there is to be a new Council on Aging, updated building codes would be followed:
The building was not sprinkled because it was not mandated and the building was built to code at the time of its construction. If the COA is to be rebuilt, it will be built to today’s codes which are much different than those of 20 years ago.