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Fire destroys Oakland City Eagles building

Fire destroys Oakland City Eagles building
Published: Dec. 22, 2021 at 5:33 AM CST|Updated: Dec. 22, 2021 at 7:02 PM CST
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OAKLAND CITY, Ind. (WFIE) - An overnight fire destroyed the historic Oakland City Eagles building.

Oakland City police officials say Eagles employees started to smell smoke around 10:15 p.m. Tuesday, and sometime afterward the fire started to quickly rise.

Police say the fire started in the upstairs of the two-story building.

When our crew arrived on scene around 3 a.m. Wednesday, the fire was mostly out and crews were leaving the scene. However, fire could still be seen glowing from the inside of the building.

Officials tell 14 News there were people inside at the time the fire broke out, but everyone evacuated quickly and no one was injured.

“It broke our hearts,” Club Secretary Shannon Conder said. “My husband and I jumped in the car and came up here and we just couldn’t believe it because this is a big part of our lives.”

The word got out that it was up in flames, and the Eagles came in hoping it wasn’t true.

“There were so many people up here from the club,” Conder added. “I pulled into the parking lot and it was all kinds of our members right here watching, out of their cars - just sad.”

Club members say they are shocked their favorite place is gone.

“Other than my home, this is where I go,” Conder said. “I have an office back there, well had one, and this is our family.”

“We’ve raised a lot of money for a lot of people in need, we’ve had parties for the kids, it’s just where we go,” President Jodi Lytle said. “It’s like home.”

The building may be ruined, but the history and the memories are not.

“Getting to hang out with your friends, see their faces,” Lytle said. “No matter what mood you’re in, somebody would be here to cheer you up.”

“It was where we went,” Conder said. “Sort of like the ‘Cheers’ song, a place where everybody knows your name.”

Multiple agencies responded to this massive fire and police are calling it a total loss.

The Gibson County Sheriff’s Office says the fire that destroyed the building flared up again Wednesday night, but firefighters are monitoring it.

Officials are also saying that a piece of Oakland City history was lost in this fire.

The Eagles plan to rebuild, but they say they don’t know when or how it will happen yet.

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