DEPEW, N.Y. (WIVB) - It was a rough start to the new year for the kids and staff at the Depew Boys and Girls Club. Their building suffered extensive damage after a blaze on Tuesday.
Depew Assistant Fire Chief Scott Wegst said, "It was a stubborn fire. It's an old building."
An old building that's seen hundreds of kids fill the rooms, including Dave Lewandowski. At age 7, he started going to the Depew Boys and Girls Club and it's remained part of his life. He is now the director for the Lancaster location.
"If you haven't been in here during peak hours right after school, then you probably won't understand the full just of it, but you're talking 100-150 kids a day that aren't roaming the streets that have a safe place to go," said Lewandowski.
The fire began around 9 a.m. It took nearly 200 firefighters to put it out, many of whom attended the club during their childhood.
"A lot of members knew the ins and outs of the building when we were up there so that was beneficial," said Chief Wegst.
Depew club members will temporarily go to the Lancaster location.
"It's a place where they can go hang out and develop physically, mentally, and culturally. It's devastating. We are going to need the community to somehow give us a hand and get a spot back for the kids they have to have it," said Lewandowski.
With damage estimated in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, there is a lot of work to do in order for future memories to be made.
"It's not easy. A lot of memories you know from being a kid," said Lewandowski.
Depew Fire officials said three firefighters were hurt battling the fire. All suffered minor injuries.
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