LINCOLN, R.I. (WPRI) – Post office customers in Lincoln will have to use a different facility after a fire late Saturday night.
The building housing the Albion Post Office, a food mart and a social club was destroyed by a fire that kept firefighters at the scene through Sunday afternoon.
According to fire officials, crews arrived at about 10 p.m. Saturday after the owner of the attached store called about a fire.
Firefighters encountered heavy smoke on arrival and found the fire in the basement – which is the Albion Social Club. According to Deputy Chief Robert Valentine, it appeared firefighters were making progress but the flames got into the walls of the 100-year-old home, forcing them to chase it for hours. Four alarms were called.
Firefighters finally cleared the scene at 2 p.m. Sunday after chasing hot spots all day.
The first floor of the building, which is right across the street from the fire station, houses the Post Office. An elderly couple lived in an apartment above it, and they escaped without injuries. A store and basement social club occupied the right-hand side of the building.
Lincoln Police Capt. Philip Gould said the actions of responding officers – Sgt. Walter Ptaszek, Officer Chris Hannon, and Officer Mathew Paradis – helped prevent fatalities.
Gould said the officers entered the smoke-filled hallways and helped to evacuate residents from the building. But when residents in one of the apartments didn’t respond, Ptaszek, Hannon, and Paradis broke down the door and woke up two residents who were still asleep.
Dep. Chief Valentine said the building is a total loss. One firefighter suffered a minor injury while working in slippery conditions.
A Postal Service spokesperson said that anyone who uses a P.O. box or picks up mail at the Albion office should instead go to the Manville Post Office. Its hours are 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and customers will need to bring identification with them.
The State Fire Marshal and the ATF are investigating the fire; Valentine said the ATF is involved because the fire involved the Post Office.