WADING RIVER - Long Island Boy Scouts are picking up the pieces after a fire ravaged a landmark site in Wading River earlier this week.
Flames ignited Tuesday at the Schiff Scout Reservation located in the Long Island Pine Barrens, consuming a building called Hickcox Hall. Firefighters say the fire was so hot that it twisted metal and destroyed everything inside the half-century-old structure.
Built in the 1950s, the dining hall hosted as many as 200,000 scouts in its lifetime, says David Richardson, the CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Council Boy Scouts of America.
"In a matter of a few hours, 50 years, 60 years of scouting history is up in smoke," he says.
Among the artifacts destroyed in the fire were hundreds of hand-painted wooden plaques made by scouts who spent time there.
So far, the cause of the fire has not been determined.
The Theodore Roosevelt Council hopes to have the hall rebuilt in time for the organization's 100-year anniversary in 2017.