TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Some East Texas firefighters go above and beyond the call of duty to help save the military memorabilia and history inside a blazing veteran of foreign wars building.
Just before 3 am on Sunday, the VFW in Sulphur Springs, off Radio road near I-30, caught fire. By the time fire crews arrived at VFW post 8560, the fate of the building looked bleak.
"We reached the middle of the building and noticed we had heavy fire showing from the front door," said Sulphur Springs firefighter Danny Haywood.
The building was just gutted. For decades it hosted fundraisers for charitable organizations.
"The VFW is an institution in Sulphur Springs. They do so much for the community. There's no telling how much actual monetary contributions they've made," said resident Dave Kirkpatrick.
"I've been a member of this post for 30 years. This is my post and I'm proud of it," said post commander Tom Miller.
Firefighters knew that more than a building was at stake. There were priceless photographs, numerous plaques and military memorabilia inside.
"We knew that they had a lot of history inside, and we wanted to try to help preserve that so we took it upon ourselves to get the stuff outside," Haywood said.
While the fire still burned, firefighters pulled out old keepsakes and photos. While they may be worthless to some, they're priceless to post veterans.
"The fire department did an excellent job. They saved most of the stuff we had hanging on the walls and got it out. We're proud of them for doing that for us," said Miller.
The VFW is insured, and it plans to run its operations out of the nearby women's auxiliary building. The cause of the fire is thought to be electrical in nature, but is still under investigation.