A massive fire destroyed a garage and storage building at the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 27 in Concord on Tuesday afternoon, and now many in the community, and beyond, are making offers of help.
“Actually it’s been tremendous, people have called. Today, this morning, I have received offers, donations, one gentleman has even offered to assist us with getting a new van,” Commander Ken Bratton said Wednesday afternoon. “It touches your heart. I mean, a lot of people don’t even know we’re back here.”
The fire broke out around 4 p.m. on the 2400 block of Rock Hill Church Road near U.S. 29. A DAV Transportation Network van stored inside the garage was also destroyed, along with several other items.
“We also lost five electric wheelchairs that were also in the garage,” Bratton added. “We lost our Memorial Wall, which had names of the Cabarrus County veterans, and this went back all the way to World War I.”
On Wednesday, Bratton was sifting through paperwork and talking to the company that insured the building.
“I was down last night, I mean, you get the call, someone tells you that the garage is burning,” Bratton said. “That’s one thing, but when I get here and walk around the corner of the building and see nothing but frame and charred embers, it kind of puts your heart down in the pit of your stomach.”
He said he had been amazed at all of the kindness shown to his organization since the fire. The offer for help in getting a new van was especially touching, according to Bratton. He said the van was used to take veterans to medical appointments to places as far away as the VA Hospitals in Asheville and Durham.
Leaders say the chapter has been helping veterans since 1948. They’re hoping insurance will help, but it was an old van, so they’re not expecting to get a lot of money for it.
Investigators have not said what may have caused the fire. No one was injured. They said they have no reason to suspect arson but will review security footage to get a better idea of what happened.
Three local businessmen also suffered loss. They kept food trucks parked at the garage, and all three were destroyed by the fire.