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Fire destroys 'majority' of local club

LANCASTER-The Depew-Lancaster Boys & Girls Club has become a great asset to the community. So, there is no question as to why so many individuals call it their second home or attribute who they are today after all the support and opportunities they were given at the club when they were youths.

This is why it was a great shock to the community on New Year’s Day when flames and smoke ascended from the building.

Reported by passer-byers, the Village of Depew Fire Department responded to the scene around 9:45 a.m. and after two hours of battling an intense fire it was finally under control.

According to Depew Fire Chief David Adamberger, the fire started on the first floor and worked its way up through the walls to the third floor.

“The third floor was totally engulfed,” remarked Adamberger. “It had to be smoldering for a couple of hours before it was even noticeable to anybody.”

Adamberger added smoke and water damaged also occurred in the gymnasium, which is considered the new part of the building.

The total cost of damage to the building was estimated at $400,000 with another $200,000 for loss of contents inside the building.

The cause is currently still unknown, but there is speculation it may have been electrical. The investigation is being lead by Depew Detective and Fire Investigator Scott Hosfeld.

Adamberger said three firefighters sustained minor injuries on the scene. Two were transported to ECMC and released and the other was checked out at the scene, all are in good condition. The club was closed for the New Year’s holiday so there was no one in the building at the time of fire.

The Depew Fire Department was assisted by other fire departments including the Village of Lancaster, Twin District’s Firefighter Assist and Search Team, Bellevue Fire Company, located in Cheektowaga, and LVAC reported to the scene.

“It was extremely difficult for us in the fire department to see a fire ripping through a place that has played such a huge role in the childhoods of most our firefighters,” commented Depew Assistant Chief Todd Rzeszutek. “It probably could be said that most of us learned about service to our community through the programs at the club, and we've gone onto serve the same community through the fire department.”

The Depew-Lancaster Boys & Girls Club, located at 60 Preston St., in Depew, will be shut down until further notice. For now, students will be transported by bus to the Depew Club and then taken to the Lancaster Club.

As soon as updates are available, it will be posted on the club’s Website or visit the club’s Facebook page.

For those who would like to help an account has been setup at KeyBank. Visit any location and say you want to donate to the Depew Boys & Girls Club fund.

“We can all agree that this lifelong pillar of our community needs to get back on its feet ASAP to once again serve the youth of this great community,” said Rzeszutek.

The mission of the Depew-Lancaster Boys & Girls club is to enable all young people, especially those from disadvantaged circumstances to reach their full potential as productive, caring, and responsible citizens. The club provides a safe place to learn and grow ongoing relationships with caring, adult professionals, life enhancing programs and character development experiences.


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