Grist Mill Total Loss in Fire, Captain Says
The fire was started after a truck struck a gas meter.
A tractor-trailer truck traveling off Fall River Avenue overturned and struck a gas meter at approximately 6 a.m., causing a gas leak and fire to spread at the historic Old Grist Mill Tavern in Seekonk, Fire Capt. Michael Healy said.
The building, which was more than 100 years old, was destroyed.
Firefighters from various neighboring communities, including Barrington, assisted with the effort.
Healy said at the same time the gas meter was struck, the electrical circuits to the building were knocked out, which may have been what ignited the gas.
The truck driver was taken to a Rhode Island hospital, Healey said. His condition is not known.
State police are at the scene investigating the cause of the truck crash.
"Initially the crews made attempts to work inside the building to extinguish the fire, but due to the extreme heat, we had to move them outside for the defensive attack," Healy said.
"Shortly after that, we were able to get the crews back inside until we had two collapses of the roof," he said. "For the firefighters safety, we had to pull everybody out of the building."
The building was pulled apart by heavy machinery at about 10:30 a.m., so the firefighters could continue the effort. Most of the noticeable smoke and fire was put out by the end of the hour.
As of 12 p.m., a tow crew was lifting up the overturned truck.
"This is a real tragedy for a historic landmark in this town," said Board of Selectman Chair Francis Cavaco, who arrived at the scene later in the morning. "But the important thing is that nobody was killed or injured."