On a day in which the Lakelands was grappling with its first cluster of snow flurries in years, fire raged at an iconic Greenwood watering hole.
Sports Break, 909 Montague Ave., suffered extensive damage Wednesday afternoon during a blaze that ravaged main portions of the longtime sports bar.
"It's just a sad, sad day," Sports Break owner Kevin Prater said. "Too many memories. You could write a novel about that place. It's got an atmosphere and a personality of its own and it can't be replaced."
No one was injured. Sports Break has been a staple along Greenwood's main drag for the past 24 years. Crowds that reached nearly 100 people gathered at the bar and stood for more than an hour, watching as smoke and flames billowed from the front of the building. The throng of officers, patrons and onlookers gathered on both sides of the roadway, lining Montague as if wishing their final farewells during a streetside memorial procession. Some on hand sobbed, while others shared friendly banter with familiar faces. Several of the bar's employees could be seen weeping at the onset of the blaze, and huddled together in unison as the event unfolded.
"It's upsetting," said Lander University senior Tyler Lindsey, who noted he began frequenting Sports Break his freshman year in college. "We came here at least once a week. It's one of the longest-running bars around here. This was the hangout, especially for college kids. Word got around fast, too. One person called and we were right up here."
Meanwhile, crews from the Greenwood Fire Department set up command in Sports Break's parking lot and continued to battle the flames, which engulfed the front sign of the longtime establishment. Menacing thick clouds of black smoke emanated from the building as firefighters armed with hoses continued to attack the blaze.
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