The clubhouse at Valley International Country Club in Brownsville, Texas was completely destroyed on May 13, and officials said the building’s built-up roof fueled the fire. In Grafton, Ohio, an overnight fire on May 11 destroyed a maintenance building at the Carlisle Golf Club, and the cause is unknown.
The clubhouse at Valley International Country Club in Brownsville, Texas was completely destroyed over the weekend, the Weslaco, Texas KRGV-TV Channel 5 News reported.
Fire crews fought the fire on May 13 for more than 12 hours. The blaze started before 10:00 a.m. “If you have lived in Brownsville for any amount of time, you’ve probably celebrated an event there,” Brownsville Fire Assistance Chief Cesar Pedraza said.
Officials said an unlikely source fueled the fire as firefighters struggled to put it out. “It had what we call a built-up roof, which means older roofs that are replaced with newer roofs. That just adds to the fire load, which adds to the heat, which adds to the smoke and makes it that much more difficult to reach the seed of the fire and extinguish it,” Pedraza said.
Professional roofer Frank Puente Jr. said having many layers on a roof was common practice not long ago. He recommended completely removing the old material down to the decking to help eliminate several risk factors, KRGV-TV reported.
“One of the reasons is the weight issue. A lot of people will say, well it’s not that much. But if you get rain or any kind of debris up on the roof, it’s going to add more weight that could cause a danger,” he said.
General Manager Kevin Sargent said now that the venue is gone, jobs will have to be cut. The golf course, he added, remains open, KRGV-TV reported.
Firefighters said the fire started in the kitchen area, but the the cause is still under investigation. Staff are working to contact people that had reserved the venue. People who reserved a date and put down a deposit will get a refund or help finding another venue, KRGV-TV reported.
The original two-story clubhouse built in 1910 also burned down. The building was about 6,000 sq. ft. and was built around the 1970s. The club hopes to rebuild the clubhouse, KRGV-TV reported.
In Grafton, Ohio, an overnight fire on May 11 destroyed a maintenance building at the Carlisle Golf Club, the Elyria, Ohio Chronicle reported.
Carlisle Township Fire Chief Kevin Dembiec said no one was injured in the blaze that began shortly after midnight and firefighters were largely able to prevent damage to an adjoining house where two people were inside when the fire started, the Chronicle reported.
Annette Scott, the daughter of owner James Mullins, said her 91-year-old father was inside the house with his girlfriend, 84-year-old Ethel Heiser, at the time. Heiser got up because the electricity was flickering and then saw orange light and smoke, and woke Mullins and the pair was able to get outside.
When firefighters arrived at the scene, the maintenance building, where club workers repaired golf carts and stored lawn mowers, was engulfed, Dembiec said. The fire crews focused their efforts on keeping the blaze from spreading to the house, which had melted soffits and a broken second-story window, but not extensive smoke or heat damage inside, the Chronicle reported.
Because of the size of the blaze, Dembiec said, firefighters from Eaton Township, Grafton, Grafton Township, LaGrange, Wellington, South Amherst, Oberlin and Elyria also responded to the fire to provide mutual aid. Firefighters had to set up a water shuttle to bring water to the scene because there weren’t fire hydrants close enough to provide the water necessary to combat the blaze, the Chronicle reported.
It took several hours to fully knock down the fire and crews were still dealing with hot spots until nearly 7 a.m. today. At least one hot spot was still active around 10:30 a.m. and would need to be doused again, Dembiec said.
The chief said the investigation into what caused the blaze is just getting started, but there doesn’t appear to be anything suspicious about the fire. “Nothing strikes us as out of the ordinary,” Dembiec said.
The 27-hole golf course remains open. A worker there said golfers were on the course the following morning, the Chronicle reported.