A long-time gathering place in Eldridge is no more. Fire raged through Del's Eatery and Pub Thursday morning. All that's left now is rubble. You could see black smoke billowing into the sky from miles away, but up close it was even more overwhelming.
Word of the fire at this local landmark spread through town almost as fast as these flames tore through Del's eatery and pub.
"We had heavy black smoke and fire in the far corner of the reception hall and it grew pretty quickly and consumed the reception hall within the first 15 minutes that we were here," said Eldridge Fire Chief Tyler Schmidt.
More than a dozen crews responded to the call that came in just after 8 a.m. They battled the fire, cold and older construction. "They aren't built with all the fire protection standards you would expect to see in newer building so a fire can spread a lot quicker," said Assistant Fire Chief Sam Samara, Long Grove Fire Department.
It's a loss shared by the entire community. "When my dad was alive, we used to have burger baskets here Monday night's and taco Tuesdays," said Abbey Hardy.
"I have no words for it, I mean, I have so many memories in the reception hall, my first dance with my husband," said Alishia Claeys.
Standing since the 1890's the building has hosted hundreds of special events, reunions, graduations, birthdays and weddings.