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Theresa woman drives SUV into Urban Mission building

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A woman ran her daughter’s blue sport utility vehicle into the Watertown Urban Mission, 247 Factory St., leaving a 5-foot-wide gaping hole in the side of the building shortly before 9 a.m. Friday.

No injuries were reported. But the waiting area for the food pantry was closed off for the remainder of the day. The food pantry remained open, said Andrew G. Mangione, the Urban Mission’s director of development.

City code enforcement officials and city firefighters were called to the scene to assess the damage.

“Thankfully, we were able to serve everybody in need and no one was hurt,” Mr. Mangione said.

The driver, Rosemary E. Nuhibian, 69, of 42210 Cedar Lane, Theresa, told officers she was parking the 2008 Ford Explorer when the gas pedal stuck, propelling the vehicle into the building, police said. The SUV is owned by Wendy Probst, 38, same address.

In comforting her, an Urban Mission employee gave the visibly upset Ms. Nuhibian a hug and listened to her talk about how it happened.

The SUV sustained damage to its front end and hood. The damage extended into the building’s interior, causing a series of two-by-fours to break and code enforcement officials initially to worry about a long metal beam that runs along that section of the structure.

Later, City Code Enforcement Supervisor Shawn R. McWayne signed off, allowing the Urban Mission to continue other activities during the day, even though some of them had to be moved to other parts of the building.

By Friday afternoon, workers had assessed the damage and started repairing it, Mr. Mangione said.

Several employees were inside the building at the time of the crash, but the food pantry was not opened yet, he said.

“No one was near it,” he said.

Some granular insulation — a sandy looking material — poured out of the hole in the cinder block building while firefighters examined the damage. The car eventually was towed away.

It was too early to say how much the damage will cost to repair, Mr. Mangione said.

The Urban Mission is in the middle of a $2.5 million capital campaign to renovate its home.

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