UPDATE: Fire at Knights of Columbus

The West End lodge was due to re-open Monday after being heavily damaged in the hurricane.

Photo by Joseph Kellard
Photo by Joseph Kellard
An early morning fire broke out at the Knights of Columbus on West Beech Street Monday.

George Gentilesco, a bar chairman at the Knights, said he received a phone call about the fire around 2 a.m..

"The fire was blazing out of the back of the building. It took the whole building out."

Gentilesco said it took firefighters until nearly 4:45 a.m. to contain and extinguish the fire.

A look inside the building showed the roof had collapsed and the entire inside from back to front was burned.

Chairman Duck Daugharty said he was tending the lodge Sunday night for members to watch football and closed the building around 11:45 p.m.

Daugharty lives directly across the street at 46 Minnesota Ave. and he said his dog woke him up by scratching frantically at the door at around 2:45 a.m. When he looked out his window he said the flames were shooting 15 to 20 feet in the air.

The Long Beach Fire Departmen, under Chief Rich Corbett, responded with 100 firefighters and 15 pieces of apparatus. They were assisted by the Inwood, Island Park, Oceanside, Point Lookout and Rockville Centre Fire Departments.

Chief Corbett told Patch that the departments had to attack the fire from the exterior of the building at 970 West Beech St. due to the advancement of the blaze and for firefighter safety.

"Four tower ladders were set up and the fire was attacked from the outside," he added.

No injuries were reported and the cause of the fire was determined to be non-suspicious and undetermined.

Daugharty said today was the day the lodge was going to open back up as a lodge after it continued to serve as a distribution center for the city after sandy. He had been working there each day for 12 to 15 hrs.

"It's devastating," he said about the fire. "We're helping people out and doing the right thing and this happens."

The Knights of Columbus lodge in the West End suffered the same flooding and lack of power as all of Long Beach after Sandy crashed into the barrier island last month. However, members immediately sprung into action, hooking up a generator to serve the community and collect relief supplies.

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Editor Joseph Kellard is reporting from the scene. This story was last updated at 10:06 a.m. on Dec. 10.


Pat Caltabiano December 10, 2012 at 07:29 AM
Omg after all the good the K o C did!, we were just there to get warm see friends and have something hot. How much can everyone take? So sorry.
goatcheesepleez December 10, 2012 at 07:56 AM
I hope there will be a community effort to aid the K of C. Heartbreaking.
Nola December 10, 2012 at 08:48 AM
So sad, but now it's time for the community to help them the way they helped ALL of L.B.!
IRISH 4 December 10, 2012 at 08:57 AM
It was the refuge for everyone after Sandy. even thought the members had the same problems we did, they gave of their time and put thire lives on hold for the community,When you walked in you saw all the familiar faces you felt & you felt a little peace.They were serving food ,supplying clothes and of course a big hug . They have to be devastated . Thank you guys for all you did and now we have to find a way to support you. Kay
Tideline December 10, 2012 at 09:58 AM
An asset to the community who helped many in the storm's aftermath. Glad no one was hurt, lets hope they rebuild.
Misty December 10, 2012 at 10:09 AM
Haven't hung out there recently but did a few years back. Great memories (sometimes-LOL). Glad no one was injured. I hope they'll be back.
Amy Rapoport December 10, 2012 at 11:10 AM
I am so sorry to hear this terrible news. The Knights were there from the get go, you feed the community workers, and residence and lent an ear to those that were suffering. Your organization is resilient, you will recover soon! My hopes and prayers are with you.
IRISH 4 December 10, 2012 at 11:32 AM
They are the men of THE YEAR !!!
Amy Rapoport December 10, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Yes the men of the Year. Lets not forget the women too who were there every morning serving breakfast and lunch, they should be recognized as well. Thank you
IRISH 4 December 10, 2012 at 12:59 PM
you are so right .The woman worked right a long side of the men, I never ever meant to slight the woman .
Barbara McMahon December 10, 2012 at 02:09 PM
so sad....hope the community comes together and helps rebuild it
Kathy G December 10, 2012 at 02:27 PM
I feel sick to my stomach!! Enough already please Powers that Be. My husband and I had our reception there. I had his FDNY retirement party there. Great people, great place to have a party without spending thousands of dollars and getting a warm loving feeling. To George and all the members, I know the community will back you in anything needed. Kathy
Tonto Hertzberg December 10, 2012 at 02:36 PM
2;45am fire?
Tonto Hertzberg December 10, 2012 at 02:37 PM
I would not doubt that one of the area skells broke in and lit the place up while leaving with whatever it is they stole.
Kathy G December 10, 2012 at 02:48 PM
The "area skells." Nice comment Ken.
Hamburger December 10, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Irish lightning?
IRISH 4 December 10, 2012 at 03:20 PM
What does that mean?
eileen December 10, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Its heartbreaking. They have been feeding and giving 24/7 since the storm hit. they have been a beacon of hope to the west end.
Nellie December 10, 2012 at 06:26 PM
The men and women from the Knights of Columbus are a wonderful group of people who have been giving back to the community since I was a child growing up in the West End. I am trying to be very positive in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy as my family tries to put our lives back together and maybe have ourselves a Merry little Christmas! I thought about whether to respond to Kens comment......I thought NO because a reaction is what you are looking for, but I couldn't let it go. I'm not sure what you mean by "area skell" but I'm thinking you're referring to you and your associates. We West Enders are a group of hard working good people who are always willing to help a neighbor. Please don't kick us while we're down.....show a little compassion for us "area" people Ken who, because we lost everything, had to have our Christmas dinner and bring our children for a little holiday joy to the Knights. We'll all pray for you to remember, if you have nothing nice to say, stay quiet. Merry Christmas Ken from the West End,
paul.d.spellman December 10, 2012 at 06:50 PM
Great loss, always willing to help, they generously let the AOH have their meetings there as well as other community groups. Didn't the WENCAs also hold their meetings there?
anonymous December 11, 2012 at 01:49 AM
This is the second fire in the West End this week. Please, please, please make sure that you take extra care with your electrical especially if you haven't replaced outlets or appliances that may have gotten wet during the storm. I realize that electricians are in high demand and that it's expensive to have one visit but it could be the difference between life and death especially since we all live so close together.
Pat Caltabiano December 11, 2012 at 07:57 AM
Omg good for you Ken you should take a page out of the book of Knights of Columbus' good will . Go out there and donate some of your time to the unfortunate PEople like 'all of us' that lost something or everything ! Where is that compassion? There seems to be a lot of lessons to be Learned here - you don't know what you have until it's gone. I think as a community there is nothing better than the West End of Long Beach. If anyone can handle these losses we have each other . Ken instead of throwing stones why don't you come down and see what good will you can do for a hurt community hurting even more now. Bring down a hot meal for my neighbor with MS in her wheelchair that refuses to leave her home except to have a warm meal and some company at the Knights of Columbus. All her neighbors practically had to leave and rent other apts until there homes get rebuilt. Ken I invite you to my gutted home on Michigan Street where we have the greatest friends and neighbors helping each other- who headed the Knights donating their own time helping with clothing and meals - hard working people rebuilding not only their homes but their spirit. Stop by Ken I will be waiting to let you take the tour I will be their Wed with workers trying to put my house back together- look for the house with the maple tree in front ;my late brother planted 35 years ago the tree survived the storm Let that be a symbol of what the West End is and will continues to be.
Pat Caltabiano December 11, 2012 at 08:25 AM
Just a thought this goes to you Ron head of Koc Maybe you can use the old Beverage store on Beech Street? Not sure what condition it's in?. But it's worth a try and has parking You can tell I am in my Realtor mode- I am a realtor and would happy to broker the deal free of charge? Call me. Patcalt.com Pat Caltabiano, Licensed Real estate Agent Exit Top Properties No fee want me to call ? I will be in Long Beach Wed working on Michigan st home
goatcheesepleez December 11, 2012 at 08:33 AM
First of all: I am a goatcheese"lady" not man :) Anyway, to all the Patch haters: dissing on the west end, the Billy Crystal tickets, or anything else for that matter: Why not put your energy into something good? Find a passion. Unfortunately there are people who would like to join in on some of the conversations but if someone doesn't agree with a disgruntled person's opinion, or if someone should use improper grammar then this forum turns into a grade school kid's playground! We all got slammed by this storm, some obviously much worse than others. We will never all agree, but if you can agree to disagree and realize that we all have opinions that we are entitled to voice. But please keep the slander and disrespect off of this forum. It's a nice way to connect to our community. And hate should not be dividing our community @ this or any time.
Patrick Smith December 22, 2012 at 06:58 AM
Knight Lightning ,The local will re-build it and they will come


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