The Bells Newport RI

The Bells will be torn down after ceiling collapse injures teenagers

The final ruins of The Bells will be torn down and demolished, the Rhode Island DEM announced a day after three teens were hospitalized after an accident on the property.

The boys were injured when one climbed on to the roof  just before 4:00 p.m. Monday. A section of the roof collapsed under the boy’s weight, causing both the boy and a slab of concrete about two feet by four feet to fall about 25 feet onto two other boys.

Two of the boys were brought to Hasbro Children’s Hospital via ambulance, the other was airlifted via helicopter to Rhode Island Hospital.

A fourth boy was treated at the scene and released to his parents.

Their medical conditions and the extent of their injuries isn’t currently known, however their injuries weren’t expected to be life threatening.

The Bells has been a popular place with teenagers, photographers, and explorers for decades. For the last ten years, access has been limited by an inadequate and easily scaled fence surrounded by “no trespassing” signs.

Formerly one of Newport’s grandest estates, The Bells sits in disrepair at Brenton Point State Park on The Ocean Drive here in Newport, RI.

Once known as The Reefs, the home was built in 1876 for copper magnate Theodore Davis. Upon his death in 1915 the home was purchased by the Budlong family. When the Budlongs divorced in 1928 the home became a focus of their divorce battle and it was never lived in again.

During WWII the home housed gunnery personnel who manned anti-aircraft gun emplacements. The home was set on fire in 1961 and demolished in 1963.

DEM estimated the cost to rehab the building would be upwards of $2 million and have decided to demolish it.





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