Fire destroys landmark Sultan Boys and Girls Club building



Posted on December 24, 2010 at 9:59 AM

Updated Friday, Dec 24 at 6:35 PM

SULTAN, Wash. -- A place that kids and their parents rely on in Snohomish County has gone up in flames, leaving the community to pick up the pieces.

An overnight fire destroyed the Sultan Boys and Girls Club located near First and High streets. Fire officials say the fire started around 1:30 a.m. Friday on the second floor of the 1940's building, which once served as Sultan's City Hall for several decades.

Snohomish County Sheriff Lieutenant Jeff Brand said strong winds caused the fire to spread to a neighboring building, which houses a daycare and preschool. Brand said the buildings appear to be a total loss.
"It is a pretty big hit because it totally wipes out the Boys and Girls Club," said Roger Knowlton, a  fire commissioner who lives down the street from where the fire happened.

Almost everyday after school, 11-year-old Ezra Talley stopped by the Boys and Girls Club.
"Just yesterday we were here and it was fine, now there just like nothing," he said. "This was our favorite place."

Sharen Addicoat also lives nearby. She was among a small group watching and hoping firefighters could save the building, but strong winds made it difficult.
"It is really sad. This town uses this every single day," said Addicoat, referring to the buildings.

Clint Simon witnessed the fire and managed to capture images of the flames with his cell phone.
"I just saw smoke. As soon as I got a clear shot I realized that the whole place was engulfed in flames," said Simon. "The wind whipped it everywhere."
There is surveillance video of the fire. Investigators reviewed it and initially say the fire does not appear suspicious. However, the Fire Marshal will conduct a thorough investigation.

The last time the building was used was Wednesday evening for a holiday party that ended around 6 p.m.

The local branch of Volunteers of America have agreed to donate space to the Boys and Girls Club until they can find a new permanent home. The VOA facility is right next to the Boys and Girls Club. There is enough space for the kids to spend their time.
But the Boys and Girls Club lost almost everything in the fire.
"What we really need are donations of food items, snack items to give the kids, games, arts and crafts." said Kami Prutsman, Unit Director of the Boys and Girls Club in Sultan. "We need things for the kids to do."
Already, community members in Sultan have offered to donations to help the club get back on its feet.
"I had a little girl beg her mom to call me this morning and say she was devastated and said she would give me all of her savings," said Prutsman. "She had $2 in her piggy bank she said she would give me for the boys and girls club."
Despite the loss, the club will be open for operations at the VOA facility starting Monday.
The City of Sultan is also looking into how it can help the club.
If you would like to donate to the Boys and Girls Club, contact Volunteers of America at (360) 793-2400.