DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - Investigators are working to find out what started a fire that destroyed an American Legion hall in DeKalb County.
It was a place on which many veterans in the Tucker area relied.
The American flag still flies outside American Legion Post 207, but the building is gone.
In daylight, Channel 2’s Steve Gehlbach could see the destruction, blackened walls from one end to the other, and the roof of the building collapsed in.
Firefighters started battling the fire at the location on Pine Valley Road around 4 a.m. Wednesday.
March 30th, 3:50 am— Dekalb County Fire Rescue (@DCFRpubaffairs) March 20, 2019
Units responded to a business fire at the American Legion on Pine Valley Rd. Engine 5 arrived with heavy smoke and flames showing from the roof of the structure. pic.twitter.com/yOFSwUueOw
The flames got up into an enclosed attic space and the tin roof kept firefighters from getting water to the fire.
Crews had to pull out of the building because it was too dangerous.
Some of the DeKalb firefighters took the initiative to pull down a large American flag hanging inside over the dance floor.
They also saved the post’s American Legion flag from burning.
Gehlbach talked to the commander of the post, which frequently hosts events for the community, even helping police and firefighters. Now, it is the post that will need the help.
“These guys are great. They’re our community heroes,” post commander Anthony Mathis said.
Still flying after flags saved from burning American Legion post👏👏👏🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/7e8Np8BIxu— Steve Gehlbach (@SteveGWSB) March 20, 2019
Members were stopping by the building all morning, many in disbelief.
"This is tragedy to a lot of people," said Anthony Mathis, Post 207 commander.
They would have been getting ready to open for the day at 1 p.m. normally.
Instead, they are trying to figure out what to do next.
"These guys are great, they're our community heroes. Any extra effort, we as a legion, legionaries, as veterans of this place greatly appreciate it," said Kevin Piscionere with American Legion Post 207.
Gehlbach talked to them about what this means for the veterans who rely on the place, which is more than a building, but also a place of camaraderie.
"Losing just one is such a big impact to the people who have served the country and have a place to go to feel like they're still connected and feel appreciated. So to lose it, is kind of hard," Piscionere said.
Anyone who wants to help veterans of American Legion Post 207 can send donations to P.O. Box 524.
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