Firemen kept damage in check at huge fire

By Ken Esten Cooke 

Firemen are a special breed. Always alert, ever-brave. Sunday night’s destruction of Turner Hall and local firemen’s handling of the blaze showed this in full.

It was a fireman who called in the blaze. Volunteer fireman Jack Sanchez lives just a block away and we were told he went out into his yard to check something before turning in for the night. He noticed the building, already fully engulfed and immediately called 9-1-1. They toned it out at 10:39 p.m. and soon Fredericksburg Volunteer Fire Department firemen battled the hot, sizable inferno.

This was a big fire and needed a lot of hands. Willow City VFD pitched in and Stonewall and Doss fire departments stood ready for backup. We’re grateful to them all.

Firemen get constantly interrupted at family dinners, special time and any number of activities. They do so from a sense of service. Whether paid or volunteer, they serve with the purpose of helping others and they put themselves second.

We certainly can’t forget our policemen and emergency medical workers, who came to the scene while working other events around the town. All worked diligently and made sure no one was seriously injured and neighboring property was spared, in the face of this huge blaze. Likewise, city staffers came to make sure utilities and the adjacent pool property were spared.

Members of the Turner Hall will meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 29 at the Golden Hub for their annual meeting. They’ll discuss the feasibility of replacing this iconic structure, costs and most likely, where to go from here. As a community, we should support whatever they decide. Even if a new facility is built, a lot more than character has been lost.

It is tragic what happened to this storied building. Many call it the best dance floor in Gillespie County. It was a huge loss and it stripped many of returning to the scene of precious memories and stopped future generations from creating memories. That’s a lot of loss.

Historical marker text

The Turnvereins, or athletic clubs, were begun in Germany by Friedrich Ludwig Jahn in 1811, and were brought to the United States by the Forty-Eighters political refugees. In Texas, it became two words, Turn Verein, and served as social, political and athletic centers. The German founders of the clubs in Texas were usually civic leaders, teachers, scientists and artists. Turners helped popularize bowling in the United States, advocated physical education and fitness, and lobbied local school boards for the inclusion of physical education classes in the curriculum.

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Fredericksburg Standard

P.O. Box 1639
Fredericksburg, TX 78624-4228