chamber fire

This photo of the Elba Chamber of Commerce fire was taken approximately 10 minutes after Elba 911 Dispatch received a 911 call reporting the building on fire. Elba firefighters had already begun their inside attack on the blaze at this time, and units from Enterprise, New Brockton, and Opp were on the way to assist with additional manpower. Reportedly, the fire was spotted by three young men as they exited Mike’s Gym, and they immediately called 911 to report the blaze.           

Fire destroyed the Elba Chamber of Commerce building, a City of Elba-owned property, late Monday night, July 12. The fire was reported at 11:36 p.m. Monday night at the historic structure.

“The Chamber is appreciative of the efforts by the Elba Fire Department, and Elba Police Department, as well as the other responding fire units from Enterprise, Opp, and New Brockton,” said Sandy Bynum Williams, Elba Chamber/Main Street director. “Unfortunately, the historic structure was destroyed.”

Williams further thanked the staff of Enterprise Rescue for being on scene as well as the firefighters worked diligently to contain the blaze.

The City of Elba acquired the Chamber building from Juliette Carolyn Stinson Brown of Feb. 20, 2002, and the house was moved a few yards east on Putnam Street to be used by the Elba Chamber of Commerce as its office.

This historic house originally was purchased by Pauline Stinson from F.M. Rushing on March 29, 1903. The Stinson family owned the home for 102 years. It was located on Claxton Avenue, one block south of the Coffee County Courthouse prior to being moved to its current location in 2002.

Williams said the home, which was recently named as an Alabama Historic Landmark, was built in the late 1800’s. It survived the 1929, 1990 and 1998 Elba floods.

The home had to be moved after being purchased by the city to the current location due to being in the path of the new levee being built around the city.

“While we are devasted by the loss, we know we are a growing and thriving community that meets adversity head on,” Williams said. “Elba is open for business, and the Elba Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Elba will continue to actively support the needs of our city.”

Firefighters remained on the scene until the early morning hours Tuesday, July 13. The cause of the fire had not been determined as of press time this week; however, it did appear the fire began in the back of the building [in the kitchen area].

Reportedly, three young men leaving Mike’s Gym were the ones to notice the fire at the Chamber building, and they immediately called 911 to report the blaze. Williams said she wanted to extend her gratitude to these young men for reporting the fire so officials could get on scene as quickly as possible.

City of Elba officials released a statement Tuesday morning noting the following, “Last night was a sad night in Elba as we watched our Chamber of Commerce building burn. We want to thank Elba Fire, Enterprise Fire, New Brockton Fire, and Opp Fire for all the hard work and for keeping the fire contained. Additionally, we would like to thank Enterprise Rescue, Elba Police, New Brockton Police, Elba 911 Dispatch, and Elba Water and Electric personnel for their assistance. We are sincerely grateful no one was injured. Our Chamber and director Sandy Bynum Williams lost a lot. However, we remain grateful everyone was safe, and all were able to go home safe.”

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