Hanna City war memorabilia collector loses collection after Tuesday night garage fire

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HANNA CITY, Ill. (WMBD) — A lifetime collection of war memorabilia in Hanna City is in ruin after a garage fire Tuesday night.

Owner Jerry Lance said he has a passion for collection pieces of history.

“I always saw veterans as heroes instead of football players or baseball players,” Lance said.

Lance’s collection was inside his back garage, filled with items from World War I and II as well as the Vietnam War.

“If its military, I like it. I’ve got everything from, had everything from, from buttons to portable showers to operating tables, pretty much everything. If it’s military, I just picked it up and stuck it in the collection,” said Lance.

He said it’s a lifelong hobby.

“I started collecting when I was six because my grandmother gave me my dad’s Navy uniform,” said Lance.

A report from the Peoria County Sheriff said the fire started just after 7:30 Tuesday night. It took five local fire departments to put it out.

“They showed up within five, six, seven minutes and they hit it with water,” said Lance.

Looking inside the garage on Wednesday morning, Lance said most of the memorabilia is ruined.

“It didn’t look too bad last night, but this morning when I look in there, it’s kinda, it’s a little bit sad,” said Lance.

Despite the fire, his passion continues. He said he’s already working on a new collection.

“I already picked up a belt today, so yeah, I’m building the collection back up,” said Lance.

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