NORTH SMITHFIELD – A vehicle crashed into the former Town Hall building at the corner of North Main and Main Street Thursday night, catching fire and briefly igniting a portion of the structure, according to several witnesses.
Fire was seen coming from the car and building around 9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27, and was extinguished by 10 p.m. according to Town Administrator Paul Zwolenski, who was at the scene Thursday evening.
Fire Chief David Chartier said the driver was transported to Rhode Island Hospital with what appeared to be minor injuries.
“The victim was out of the vehicle on our arrival,” he said.
Chartier confirmed on Friday that damage to the building was relatively minor, with burn marks limited to the exterior by the back entrance, including the top of one window frame.
“We knocked it down pretty quickly,” Chartier said. “We had to get units inside the building to make sure there was no extension of fire, which there wasn’t.”
A historic structure built in the early 1920s, the building served as Town Hall for many years, holding municipal offices until the move to the former Kendall Dean school building in 2020. It is maintained by the North Smithfield Heritage Association under an agreement with the town.
It’s the second time the building sustained damage from a crash in recent years. In 2019 a vehicle split in two after veering off the nearby roadway and hitting the building.
The cause of the crash and the blaze that followed is under investigation.