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posted: 3/8/2013 5:16 PM

Villa Park VFW back up and running

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  • Villa Park VFW Post 2801 was scheduled to play host to its first fish fry since a May 2012 explosion rocked the facility during a Bingo game.

       Villa Park VFW Post 2801 was scheduled to play host to its first fish fry since a May 2012 explosion rocked the facility during a Bingo game.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

 
 

Much of the Villa Park VFW Post 2801 is again open to the public nearly 10 months after an explosion in the gun range injured 10 people.

"We're up and running everywhere but the gun range," Post Cmdr. Dennis Geiseman said Friday afternoon as he prepared for the first fish fry in nearly a year scheduled for later in evening. "Spread the word."

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Fire officials estimated the brick and concrete building at 39 E. St. Charles Road suffered more than $150,000 in smoke and fire damage on May 29, 2012, when a welding mishap caused an explosion that witnesses described as a "scene from 'Backdraft.'"

Geiseman said total costs have not been tallied up but the repairs have gone well. A downstairs kitchen is still out of operation and the gun range isn't expected to reopen until May.

"The whole place is brand new so we're trying to get people in here to see it," he said. "Everything in here is now state of the art. We've even got a great new projection TV so the rental halls are ready to go. We're all set for weddings, too."

Friday's fish fry menu was expected to be limited to Italian beef, hot dogs, fried shrimp and fried fish. Grilled fish is expected to eventually return to the menu.

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