Fire destroys local VFW post

Front Royal Volunteer firefighter Chris Ramey rests on the parking lot of the Front Royal VFW Post 1860. Rich Cooley/Daily

Fire destroyed the Front Royal Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1860 on Saturday afternoon.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation by the Warren County Fire Marshal and Front Royal police.

Fire Chief Richard E. Mabie said in a written statement that firefighters were called to the scene at 1847 North Royal Ave. at 12:59 p.m. after someone reported a trashcan fire.

Mabie said two people in the building escaped unharmed, but two firefighters, one a volunteer from Strasburg and one a paid member of the Front Royal Fire Station 1, were injured and hospitalized.

Mabie estimated the loss of the building could amount to more than $500,000.

A firefighters uses a saw to ventilate the roof of the Front Royal VFW Post 1860. Rich Cooley/Daily

“My professional guess is that the building is totally destroyed,” he said in an interview.

Mabie said a heavy fire was already coming from the North Royal Avenue door of the building by the time firefighters arrived.

The fire, which was burning inside the walls and ceiling, later reached the attic and roof, Mabie said.

At that point, the structure was deemed unsafe, and firefighters left the building to assume what Mabie called a “defensive” posture that involved using aerial equipment and heavy amounts of water.

Mabie said firefighters remained at the scene searching for hot spots and flare-ups through Saturday night. The last units left at 3 p.m. Sunday.

Derek Mabie, a volunteer with the Front Royal Volunteer Fire Department, tosses out water to other volunteers during a fire Saturday at the Front Royal VFW Post 1860. Rich Cooley/Daily

Mabie said the most seriously injured firefighter from Front Royal suffered what appeared to be torn knee ligaments. He will be off duty until the damage is repaired and healed.

Mabie said the Strasburg firefighter collapsed from unknown causes. He was treated at the scene and taken to Warren Memorial Hospital, where he was kept overnight for observation.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com

Front Royal Volunteer Fire Department Chief Larry Oliver communicates with the aerial units outside the Front Royal VFW Post 1860 after fire destroyed the building. Rich Cooley/Daily

Exhausted firefighters rest in the roadway while volunteers deliver ice and water outside the Front Royal VFW Post 1860. Rich Cooley/Daily

Warren County Fire Marshal Lt. Gerry Maiatico, left, and Front Royal master police officer Steve Mauck look over the fire scene through thick smoke Saturday. Rich Cooley/Daily

Firefighters stand outside the gutted structure of Front Royal VFW Post 1860. Rich Cooley/Daily

Aerial units from Warren County, Strasburg, and Stephens City attack the roof area of the Front Royal VFW Post 1860 on North Royal Avenue during the July 11 fire. Rich Cooley/Daily

Firefighters spray water on the roof of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1860 on North Royal Avenue in Front Royal on Saturday. Rich Cooley/Daily

Smoke rises from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1860 on North Royal Avenue in Front Royal. Rich Cooley/Daily