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Niagara Sailing Club officially reopens after devastating fire

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Posted at 4:27 PM, May 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-31 17:55:20-04

GRAND ISLAND, N.Y. (WKBW) — It's an emotional new beginning for the Niagara Sailing Club. As the club opens for their 88th sailing season, memories of what was lost just earlier this year linger.

"What today is is that first step towards bringing the club back to what it was," Jack Dally, vice commodore of the Niagara Sailing Club, said.

"It's a piece of us. To see the club open and then turn around and not actually see it is emotional," Kevin Labin, the commodore of Niagara Sailing Club, said.

On March 20th, fire ripped through the club leaving little behind.

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A fire broke out within the Niagara Sailing Club Saturday.

"It devastated the entire building in a matter of 15 minutes," Dally said.

One of the few items saved hangs high today.

"Out of the building comes one of the firefighters with the American flag, and [they] handed it over to me. It was still steaming and smoking as it came out of the fire along with our burgee. It was so emotional, very touching. It was a very special moment," Labin said.

Now, the club is preparing to rebuild.

"There's a lot of challenges. Challenges of finances, how are we going to accomplish what we need to accomplish in putting up a new building, especially with the cost of lumber and everything going up," Labin said.

But the club said it's nothing it can't handle.

"We're not defeated, we just have a challenge ahead of us," Labin said.

"We're really resilient people. We're people that take a hit and keep on going," Dally said.

The club said its insurance will not cover the entire rebuild. There is a GoFundMe and GiveButter account where you can donate if you are interested in helping the club.