Pulaski community looks to rebuild after poolhouse fire

All summer camps are still going on

PULASKI, Va. – Pulaski is still reeling after a fire destroyed the Evelyn Alexander Waterpark pool house last Friday. But now, they’re working on moving toward the future.

”It still feels like a bad dream,” said Shay Dunnigan, director of Pulaski County Parks & Rec.

Dunnigan left the pool house Friday less than an hour before the fire started.

When he came back, very little was left standing.

”The outpour of love and messages and encouraging words we’ve received in the last 72 hours have been very heartfelt and much needed,” Dunnigan said.

The fire is still under investigation, and they are waiting on insurance claims, but Dunnigan says they want to move forward.

Parks & Rec summer camps start in the coming weeks, and Dunnigan wants people to know they are still happening, regardless of the fire.

”We’re being creative with what we can do with our summer camps in terms of swimming, partnering with people around the New River Valley to make that a positive experience for them in the summer,” he said.

The pool provided summer employment for many people in the area, like lifeguard Alan Fernandez.

”I was supposed to start Monday which is crazy to me. I just looked down at my phone at my girlfriend’s graduation and I just see, oh it’s on fire,” Fernandez said.

The Parks & Rec Department plans to keep pool employees on staff in other areas of the department.

Dunnigan says he knows what a loss this is to the community.

“This place is home to a lot of people,” he said.

But he says one day they will be back and better than ever.

”We’re going to do everything in our power to make this standing behind us bigger, better and stronger as we move forward,” he said.

Parks and Recreation tells 10 News they’re meeting soon to discuss more specific solutions and will know more in the coming days.

About the Author:

Abbie Coleman officially joined the WSLS 10 News team in January 2023.