By: Kara Duffy
March 20, 2013
Moultrie, GA- The Moultrie Youth Center has been around for decades, but on Monday evening, a blaze broke out inside the building, threatening to destroy it.
"At the time of the fire, there was diving practice going on across the street, tennis competitions going on across the street, three softball fields in use with parents and kids around; so we're just thankful that they heard the explosion, saw the smoke pouring out of the building; they contacted the fire department and no one was hurt," said
Terry Peek, the Recreation Department Director.
According to the Moultrie Fire Department, crews were able to control the blaze before it spread to nearby buildings.
"The youth center is attached to the gymnasium which has a large equipment room which houses all of the athletic equipment for baseball, softball and football," said Peek. "We didn't want to lose not only the youth center, but the gymnasium and equipment room also."
Officials with the Moultrie Fire Department say because the building is owned by the city, State Fire Marshall's have stepped in to help with the investigation.
Right now, they say they're still trying to figure out what could have caused the fire.
Folks in the community say the center not only holds a special place in the community, but in their hearts as well.
"There are a lot of good memories here," said Peek. "I talk to people everyday that say, when they were teenagers, and they're grandparents now, that they met here or they had their first kiss here or something of that nature. There's been a lot of people in and out of that building and we'd hate to see it go."
Fire officials say an insurance company is expected to survey the building sometime this week to determine if it is salvageable or if they'll need to tear it down.