Jamie Jerome plans to retain his staff and get a restaurant operating again as soon as possible. He expects “to be serving food again within 60 days. I know what to do and I know how to do it. We aren’t closing.” The fire, which destroyed the clubhouse and restaurant, was called in just before midnight on Dec. 23.
A holiday fire destroyed the Hoosick Falls (N.Y.) Country Club clubhouse and restaurant, but owner Jamie Jerome told the Bennington Banner he’s determined to rebuild. Jerome said he also plans to retain his staff and get a restaurant operating again as soon as possible.
He’s working this week to move a scheduled New Year’s Eve event to a different venue, the Banner reported.
“I’m not giving up,” he said. “I’ve got my heart, my soul, my time—way too much time—and one of my pocketbooks in it. And, you know, it was coming along beautifully, and we got set back a little bit.”
He added, “We took a hit; we couldn’t even save a fork.”
Nevertheless, Jerome, who also owns Jerome Construction Inc., told the Banner he hasn’t worked out all the details yet, but expects “to be serving food again within 60 days. I know what to do and I know how to do it. We aren’t closing.”
The fire resulted in nearly “too much of a loss,” he said, “and we might not get back what we had, but we might get something greater than we did have.”
Jerome said he already has some ideas on how to rebuild and will share more details with the public in the near future, the Banner reported. He said the business sustained a significant financial loss in the devastating fire, which left the clubhouse a charred ruin, adding that the building had undergone extensive recent renovations and upgrades.
“I’m thankful nobody got hurt,” Jerome said, saying the rest can be restored.
“The community also has been very supportive,” he told the Banner, “and that gives me the strength and inspiration to go forward with this. My family’s been great, and we had something really good going. I’m not willing to let it go.”
Hoosick Falls Police Department Officer-in-Charge Paul Aleksonis said Dec. 25 that police were being assisted by the Rensselaer County Cause and Origin Team of fire investigators but no cause for the fire had been determined at that point, the Banner reported.
Jerome said Dec. 26 he hasn’t heard anything further about the fire’s cause, but to him “it’s really irrelevant, as far as I’m concerned. I lost everything … They can surmise all they want [about the exact cause], but the bottom line is, I don’t have a clubhouse.”
The furniture, fixtures, equipment, food, liquor in the bar and many other items likewise were consumed by the fire, he told the Banner.
Jerome said he also hasn’t heard yet whether his insurance will cover the entire loss, the Banner reported.
“It’s overwhelming,” he said. “It’s Christmas; I’ve been up for several days. You know, it’s heartbreaking.”
Jerome told the Banner he and his family and staff “are at a loss for words, to tell you the truth. We haven’t even gotten to the meat and potatoes of what it is going to take to do this again.”
But Jerome said he still has “a great piece of property with a great golf course that’s getting better every year, and we’ve got a great community that we serve, and a surrounding area that we serve. And people have been very kind and supportive … We’re just going to keep our chins up and go forward and try to make it right.”
The fire was called in just before midnight on Friday, Dec. 23, police said, adding that there were a few occupants inside the building when the fire began but everyone made it out safely, the Banner reported.
Firefighters from the village, the town of Hoosick and at least seven New York departments in the area responded, along with Bennington Fire Department personnel, the Banner reported. Crews battled the fire for several hours in near zero temperatures amid strong wind gusts. Three firefighters suffered smoke inhalation, officials said.
Jerome purchased the golf course four years ago and said it has been operating at a high level, with improvements annually to the course and the restaurant open during the winter as well as during the golf season, the Banner reported.
The Hoosick Falls Police Department say the fire was caused by a portable propane heater that was in use due to the cold temperatures, WTEN reported. According to police, the heater ignited some combustible material inside the club.
Authorities believe the propane fuel, combined with high winds, helped the fire travel throughout the building at high speeds, WTEN reported. Several departments responded to fight the blaze that night, battling not only the flames, but also cold temperatures, snow, and the wind.