Fire at historic golf club outside Detroit causes massive damage

Officials said a massive fire Thursday caused extensive damage to the clubhouse at the Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Township, Mich., the venue for several US Open golf tournaments.

John LeRoy, fire chief in Bloomfield Township, said in an interview on Thursday night that firefighters were dispatched around 9:17 a.m. Thursday to reports of a smell of smoke in the clubhouse. set. Using thermal imaging cameras and inspection holes, LeRoy said, they were able to find the fire in the attic of the clubhouse.

Sheriff LeRoy told reporters on Thursday: “It just takes a lot of people to narrow that site down. “Unfortunately, the smell of smoke was over a large area. In large buildings, trying to find out exactly where it came from is very difficult. ”

Officials said in a statement late Thursday, firefighters also discovered large fires inside the walls and between floors of the building.

According to fire officials, no one was injured in the fire, and the cause is under investigation. The clubhouse has an extensive collection of golf memorabilia, and it is not clear how many of them have been saved, although firefighters and club staff were able to locate it. back some.

“There were people standing at the front door and they were moving things,” Sheriff LeRoy said. “It was quite a time-consuming process, but they achieved what they could.”

As of 10 p.m., the fire was still not fully extinguished, and Sheriff LeRoy said firefighters were still working to put it out.

“It was massive damage in the whole building,” he said. “It was destroyed a lot. I don’t know what to say anymore.”

Complicated efforts, a blizzard blew through the area, creating ice and dumping about 6 inches of snow as firefighters worked to put out the fire, Sheriff LeRoy said.

Rick Palmer, the club’s president, said in a statement on Thursday that it was a “painful day.”

“We’ve lost our iconic club,” he said, adding that he’s grateful to the firefighters who helped save some of the memorabilia. “It is heartbreaking to see this, but we take comfort in knowing that the heart, soul and legacy of the club lies with our members and staff. Only time will tell what comes next, but we will move forward with the aim of honoring all those who have brought this great building to life with the golf course and their work. . ”

The club, founded in 1916, has hosted six US Open tournaments and many star golfers, including Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.

The club was designed by C. Howard Crane, an architect who had worked for several theaters in Detroit, and it was completed in August 1922, according to the club.

The club hosted Arnold Palmer’s first national tournament, when he competed in the 1946 Hearst National Youth Championship, in which he finished second to MacGregor Hunter, according to club history. .

The club also hosted heads of state, including former President George HW Bush and John Major, former British prime minister, during the 2004 Ryder Cup. Former President George W. Bush visited in 2014.

David Coulter, Oakland County executive, said on Twitter that the fire was a “tragic loss.”

“I am grateful that no one was injured in the fire and hope for a speedy recovery and rebuilding for the club that has brought such a rich golfing legacy to Oakland County,” he said.

The United States Golf Association also said it was relieved no one was injured.

“Together with so many others in the golfing community, we have special memories at this historic site and look forward to doing more with them in the years to come,” the association said.

The USGA recently announced that Oakland Hills Country Club will host the US Women’s Open in 2031 and 2042. Fire at historic golf club outside Detroit causes massive damage

Fry Electronics Team

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