Hopewell Fire & Rescue / Facebook
The Hopewell Fire Department in Virginia had quite a busy morning on February 28th.
They were called to a fire at the Hopewell Moose Lodge at 4:30am and showed up to the building completely engulfed in flames. According to a local CBS news report, the fire was coming from the kitchen and laundry areas.
“When I got here it was so engulfed in flames that you couldn’t even really figure where it started,” Hopewell Moose Lodge Treasurer Don Readshaw told WTVR News. “It’s a feeling of futility because there’s nothing you can do.”
The fire crew, led by Chief Donny Hunter, first went into the interior, but pulled back once the fire made it through the roof. Their focus then was to keep everyone safe and fought the fire defensively. As they were fighting the fire, Chief Hunter saw the Moose Lodge flag fall off the flagpole and into the fire.
“That flag drop, which made us realize that the American flag and the Virginia flag were probably getting close to the same fate,” he told WTVR.
Chief Hunter and firefighter Tommy Cibula ran to the flagpoles in front of the building to save the American flag, while firefighter Jamie Bridgeman kneeled nearby with a water hose to keep flames away from them.
“I saw Chief going to get the flag and we work as a team,” said Cibula. “I’m not going to let our fire chief sit there and do that by himself.”
Chief Hunter told the local news that saving the American flag “was the right thing to do.”
They returned the flag to Moose Lodge’s Governor Brian Carpenter, who said it meant the world that the firefighters went out of their way to save it and return it to him.
Sadly, the building was a total loss despite the incredible efforts put forth by the Hopewell Fire & Rescue. See drone footage from the destruction below.
Watch the viral and inspiring moment below. It’ll make you proud to be an American, that’s for sure.