ELBA, Ala. (WDHN)—Investigators with the State Fire Marshal’s Office are sifting through the ashes of a historic building In the county seat of Coffee County, shortly after midnight Tuesday, the 130-year-old Elba Chamber of Commerce building erupted into flames.
Elba Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Sandy Bynum-Williams says tears came to her eyes when she saw her office burning to the ground.
Just after midnight Tuesday, residents reported the 130-year-old building engulfed in flames. Elba volunteer firefighters received mutual aid from Enterprise along with Opp and New Brockton fire units.
Initially, it was built during the reconstruction period of the south following the civil war.
“If there’s a word for Elba, it’s resilience,” Bynum-Williams said. “We can hitch up our pants and go to work. And that’s what we’re going to do. We live through disasters like floods before and we can do it again.”
In the early 2000’s, the Stinson House with its heart of pine floors was converted into the city’s chamber of commerce.
“Back in 2000 then, Elba Chamber of Commerce Director, Kaye Whitworth moved into the building.” Bynum-Williams said. “It was a dream and then last night a heartache watching it go up in flames.”
“I was just heartbroken it was devastating to stand over there and watch everything we worked so hard for and everything that at going up in flames,” Whitworth said.
On Tuesday, Bynum-Williams says she’s received phone calls from the State and National Commerce asking what they can do to help.
Despite losing the building, Sandy says the chamber is more than brick and mortar. It’s the members that are the backbone of the city which dates back to the 1850’s.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the fire to determine the cause.