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Former Fugate’s Entertainment Center no longer standing, fire investigation underway

Published: Sep. 21, 2020 at 9:07 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 22, 2020 at 12:19 AM EDT
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PERRY COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT)- A massive fire at the former Fugate’s water park in Perry County last night burned the boat shaped building that’s been abandoned for years. Fugate’s Entertainment Center was a popular spot from the 1980′s into the early 2000′s.

Update 9-22-2020

A movie theater was the last business to close at Fugate’s Family Entertainment Center in early 2016. That is when Angelic and her husband Charles bought the property.

“We bought it because it was sentimental to us. We went on our first movie date here. Like the dream of having our own cinema and rebuilding everything,” said Angelic.

Yet that dream would soon turn into a nightmare. Frequent occurrences of break-ins, squatters and thieves filled the couple’s time. Ben Stidham, Chief of Grapevine Chavies Volunteer Fire Department, can attest to the disturbances.

“People trying to stay in it. They had actually put new padlocks on the doors,” he said.

Next, a set of multiple little fires would occur over the past several days, beginning on Saturday night. Stidham then reported another structure fire at the building Monday morning and again not long before the massive flames would take over.

“Thirty, five-forty minutes later we received a call from actually the Hazard Fire Department Station they could see the glow too in the air. It was pretty bad” said Stidham.

“They were determined to burn it," said Angelic. “There hasn’t been power to the building in several years."

Angelic is confused and hurt as to why someone would want to destroy something that does not belong to them. She is wary of beginning the process to rebuild.

“If they are just going to come and burn your stuff down like why would you want to rebuild it. Risking if you have something nice build that you really, really invested in and they just come and they just burn it down. This neighborhood is known for arson, that’s why I couldn’t get any insurance.”

Insurance companies telling the Heralds' the building was in a red zone. Which means the cost to insure the property would outweigh the cost of rebuilding it.

“We are just going to have to start all over, and maybe we can make this better than what we had originally planned,” she said.

Hoping to preserve not only their memories but the Commonwealth’s as well.

Update 12:16 a.m 9-22-2020

Perry County Dispatch tells us that the portion of Highway 15 shut down due to the fire was reopened shortly after midnight on Tuesday.

Original Story 9:07 p.m 9-21-2020

A large fire at the former Fugate’s Water Park in Perry County Monday evening has closed a portion of Kentucky Highway 15.

Perry County Dispatch tells WYMT that Highway 15 is completely shut down in the area around the fire.

A viewer sent WYMT this video of the fire:

The fire chief for Grapevine Chavies Volunteer Fire Department says the fire has been going on and off since Saturday night. Monday night was the fourth night they have responded to a fire at the former water park.

Just a few hours before the big fire, the fire department was called out to put out a fire there.

The fire is now a multi-county agency response from Vicco Fire Department to Watts Caney Fire Department. The chief says the fires are arson.

“Left here approximately I’d say 2 1/2 hours ago then we got the call to come back to put the fire out, got the call to come back when we got here it was just you could actually see the top of the hill at AAA,” said Ben Stidham, the fire chief for Grapevine Chavies Volunteer Fire Department.

“Well I got a call from one of my friends and he said Fugate’s was on fire. I had heard through the internet, I heard they were trying to do that this weekend so I wasn’t expecting much. I was expecting maybe just a little bit of a fire but when I got here it was like an inferno,” said Anthony Bersaglia who lives in the community.

Bersaglia said he has a lot of memories from the former site of Fugate’s Water Park and is sad to see it burn down.

Fire crews will continue to work the fire for a couple more hours.

Jeff Riley took this aerial photo below:

Jeff Riley took this aerial photo of the former Fugate's Water Park burning Monday night.
Jeff Riley took this aerial photo of the former Fugate's Water Park burning Monday night.(Jeff Riley)

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