H-ARROYO GRANDE

May 1, 2011 10:45 PM by Kathy Kuretich (DL)

Boy scouts and families devastated after building fire

Local boy scouts and their families are devastated and fire investigators are searching for answers after the Boy Scouts of America building in Arroyo Grande burns to the ground.

Flames sparked around 4:30 a.m. Sunday at 490 East Cherry Avenue in Arroyo Grande. The fire was so intense firefighters were unable to save the building. It has been a home to local boy scout troops since World War II.

Heartbreak and sadness for many in Arroyo Grande as they survey what is left of a building that has become more than just a place to gather.

The hall has a rich history, built in the 1930s it was originally a Japanese cultural school before becoming a boy scout hall during World War II. Gone are generations of patrol flags, old pictures and now a sense of home.

Greg Rubio runs a non-profit Judo Club out of the hall. He said earlier this week vandals broke in, wrote curse words on the board, desecrated an American flag, even attempted to set fires in the hall.

"I don't understand why anyone would do this, I don't know why," said Rubio.

More questions than answers as those who loved the building attempt to make sense of their loss.

"It's so ironic, evidently if it's the people that we're suspecting it is, that it was burned down by kids after having it be so instrumental in so many kids lives," said Gary Hagerty, a troop leader's father.

No one was hurt in the fire and police say the cause is still unknown. An arson investigator is on the case.

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