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Officials survey damage caused by New Year's Day fire at Boys and Girls Club

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Buffalo: Officials survey damage caused by New Year's Day fire at Boys and Girls Club
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The Village of Depew's mayor got a first hand look Wednesday at the damage a New Years Day fire caused at the Boys and Girls Club. YNN's Kevin Jolly tagged along as the mayor toured the devastated building. As he reports, village officials say they'll do everything they can to make sure it reopens.

DEPEW, N.Y. — Using high powered lights to make their way through the darkness, Village of Depew Mayor Steve Hoffman, along with village and fire officials, got a first hand look at the damage the New Year's Day fire caused to the Depew Boys and Girls Club.

"The game room upstairs where most of the activity took place, as kids, was devastating," said Hoffman.

The fire destroyed the upper level of the building, burning everything in the game room and leaving just the bare beams supporting what's left of the roof.

Just one level down, more damage caused by flames and water. Some rooms were destroyed while others, amazingly, escaped with little to no damage.

"Working your way down the damage was less and less, you've got to attibute that to the fire department saving the building," said Hoffman.

Program Director Jeff Kupka, who has been a member of the Depew Club for 35 years, says the club holds many personal memories for him.

“For me, I've worked here 22 years but I've also been coming here since I was six. So when you walk in and most of my personal life I walked in and I never left, so devastating is the word I've been using,” said Kupka.

Since word got out about the fire, deputy mayor Jules Pecora says they've recieved hundreds of text messages and phone calls from former club members pledging their support to help rebuild the club.

“We've had companies come in, they want ot donate paints, they want to install the heating units, all donating, as well as some of the basketball courts. They've got three big huge fundraisers going on," said Pecora.

So far, Club officials don't have a hard number on the damage and the cost to rebuild but they say it's likely to run into the hundreds of thousand of dollars.

Meantime, while the future of the club remains up in the air, members are being directed to the Lancaster location just a few miles down the road.

A fundraiser has been set up at YouCaring.com. You can also find more information at the Boys and Girls Club's website.

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