Veterans try to salvage history after blaze at American Legion post

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Two days after the devastating fire that destroyed American Legion Post 396, war veterans were back at the site trying to salvage what they could. (WPVI)

Two days after the devastating fire that destroyed American Legion Post 396, war veterans were back at the site trying to salvage what they could.

"There's a lot of stuff in there that does mean a lot to our hearts and everything else. This club is our heart," said Post Commander Pat Driscoll.

Driscoll spoke with us about the painful journey of sorting through 92 years of historical items that were lost and those that could be salvaged.

"This is a purple heart that we were able to save out of the things that was also awarded to one of our veterans and donated to the post," said Post Adjutant Pat Love. "We lost 3 lifetimes of memories. My own kids grew up in this post."

The devastating fire at the post, located on the 300 block of Milnor and Orthodox, broke out during a banquet veterans were having on - of all days - Memorial Day.
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A four alarm fire consumed an American Legion post in Frankford.



The inferno that consumed the two-story structure went to four alarms before more than 100 firefighters were able to bring it under control.

The fire was so intense, veterans were not allowed to retrieve the two U.S. flags in front of the building.

But one firefighter was not about to let them go down with the ship.

"They wouldn't let me go back and get it, but a fireman grabbed the flags from the front of our building as it was burning and brought 'em out to us," said Love.

Chopper 6 was over the scene Wednesday of a heavily-damaged building - the second floor collapsed - that will have to be demolished.

The building is insured and there's hope the first floor of the historic post can be saved.

It was named after Bolesaw Grochowski, the first veteran from the Bridesburg area killed in World War I.

And yet, despite the misery of their loss, veterans still had time to thank those who've tried to help them.

"We gotta give compliments to the fire department and to the people from L&I and everything else because they did one great job with this," said Driscoll.
Related Topics:
newsphiladelphia newsbuilding fireveteransmemorial day
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