Saturday's fire at the old Elks Lodge in downtown Clarksburg caused massive damage to the building, as well as the neighboring Masonic Temple. But had it not been for the heroic efforts of Clarksburg and Bridgeport firefighters, it could have been much worse.
While firefighters could do little to save the historic Elks Lodge, where the fire originated, the more than 50 firefighters on hand did a tremendous job of keeping the fire from engulfing the Masonic Lodge, which was just four feet away.
And with the Verizon building and others nearby, only the expert work of Clarksburg Fire Chief Joe Gonzalez and his crew kept the fire from being much worse.
As hundreds gathered to watch, Clarksburg and Bridgeport firefighters worked side by side in their efforts to contain the fire.
Some onlookers were overheard questioning why the firefighters didn't aggressively attack the fire sooner, but fighting a fire of that size is a risky proposition. One wrong move and neighboring buildings and the lives of firefighters could have been put at risk.
Gonzalez and his assistants correctly determined the location and potential size of the fire, and since it was in an empty building, applied a strategy designed to protect nearby buildings while keeping firefighters as safe as possible.
The firefighters, police and emergency services personnel displayed great teamwork and deserve credit for a job well done.