Villa Park VFW Reopens After May 2012 Explosion
Ten months after a blast in the building's gun range injured 10 people and caused an estimated $150,000 in damages, VFW Post 2801 is finally open again.
VFW Post 2801 in Villa Park is finally open again—mostly—10 months after a major explosion caused by a welding accident engulfed the basement's gun range, sending 10 people to the hospital, two in critical condition.
According to The Daily Herald, the May 2012 explosion did more than $150,000 in damage to the brick-and-concrete building at 39 E. St. Charles Road, but everything except the downstairs kitchen and gun range had been reopened in time for a fish fry last Friday.
"The whole place is brand new so we're trying to get people in here to see it," Post Cmdr. Dennis Geiseman told the paper. "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."
Shortly after the accident in May, Geiseman declared optimistically that it might take 60 to 90 days to repair the hall, but even after 10 months, the gun range is still not ready for business. The gun range is expected to re-open at the end of May, according to the VFW website.
"Buildings are replacable, people aren't," Geiseman told Elmhurst Patch back in May, and he praised the "members who bravely and calmly followed protocol to ensure the evacuation of the estimated 70 people, many of whom were senior citizens."
"Their prompt action undeniably saved lives," he said. "We are very proud of them."
Both Elmhurst and Villa Park veterans and their families are members of the Villa Park VFW Hall, as the Villa Park and Elmhurst VFWs merged last year.