An American Legion building burned to the ground in Newark early Thursday morning, and 140 veterans are now forced to find a way to rebuild.
It's not clear what started the fire that ripped through the building on Elizabeth Avenue. Firefighters were able to get it under control quickly, and no one was hurt, officials said. But the building itself is a total loss.
"When I woke up, got this call that we have a fire, I was like, where did it come from, how did happen," said Michael Jackson, post commander of American Legion 152, one of the largest American Legion posts in the country for African Americans.
"It's a brotherhood and sisterhood, and it's going to be a tough loss," said Kamal Brown, adjutant at the Guyton-Callahan post, which has been in Newark for decades.
Brown said the American Legion there just had a coat drive, and every year holds a toy drive and feeds the homeless during the holidays.
"We serve our veterans, our community and anyone who needs our help," said Jackson.
Aside from charity events, the post served as home base for 140 veterans. The fire has destroyed precious memorabilia, but members are vowing to rebuild.
"We're gonna get together, we're gonna build our hosue back up. That's what we're gonna do," said Jackson.