The cold temperatures did not stop a blaze from spreading at the American Legion in Waynesboro on Thursday morning.
Donald Kauffman, the president of Waynesboro American Legion Post 15, has been with the Legion for nearly 40 years. He and other members could only stand in disbelief after seeing their building catch fire.
“Devastating. Just devastating. Worst thing I’ve ever been through. It’s tough. Wish I would wake up out this nightmare,” Donald Kauffman, the president of Waynesboro American Legion, said.
The fire was called in just before 2:15 a.m. Waynesboro firefighters found heavy smoke coming from the back side of the building.
“We encountered some heavy heat inside, some smoke…And were forced out of the building. We retreated to the outside, where we ended up going defensively and tried to attack the fire from the rear and the front,” John Beck, the assistant fire chief of Waynesboro Fire Department.
“just a big ball of fire coming out of the roof. And the firemen had already been here for awhile, and I just stood here and watched the thing burn. There’s nothing else you can do,” Kauffman said.
Forcing fire officials to stay on scene for several hours.
“The fire spread quickly on us. Spread through the entire building. We added more and more apparatus, and ended up with a third alarm assignment. And the fire took off, and we ended up stopping it before it got to burn a hole. However, unfortunately, the American Legion is a total loss,” Beck said.
Authorities are continuing to investigate.
The American Legion president says the post has been there since 1919.