Crews continue watch at Oakland Hills Country Club three days after fire
Fire trucks remained on the scene Sunday of a fire that broke out three days earlier at Oakland Hills Country Club, ripping through the clubhouse.
Crews were still rotating shifts on a fire watch according to Bloomfield Township Fire Chief John LeRoy, and had to put out a couple of hot spots overnight from the enormous blaze that tore through the 110,000-square-foot clubhouse Thursday morning at the historic golf course.
On Saturday evening, the department removed the fire apparatus it had been using since Thursday to thaw it out, LeRoy said.
Crews could remain as long as Sunday or Monday to fully extinguish the blaze, Fire Battalion Chief Alan Van Heck said Saturday morning.
"Once the floor starts falling on top and the attic falls on top, you have pockets of fire and it sandwiches down," Van Heck said.
Fire investigators with the Oakland County Sheriff's Office are assisting the Bloomfield Township fire marshal determine the fire's cause and origin.
Van Heck said the fire marshal would address questions on Monday, adding that he was not permitted to discuss the cause of the fire but it appeared that it started outside on the walls and worked its way up.
"There was sprinklers going off. I don’t know how many. It wasn’t until well into the fire that a lot of those went off," Van Heck said. "It's hard for them (sprinklers) to go off. They need direct heat."
"I've been here 27 years this is one of the largest fires I've ever been on and lot of the guys said the same," Van Heck said.
Oakland Hills is over a century old and highly ranked in the golf industry and was poised to host major championships in the next decade.
The clubhouse also is a museum of sorts, displaying photos, paintings, trophies and other artifacts from majors tournaments over the years. A trophy case near the front entrance displayed replica trophies of tournaments won by the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Ben Hogan.
The golf club founded in 1916 is likely to be rebuilt with the help of the roughly 750 members from some of Metro Detroit's top business leaders, most affluent families and a sizeable insurance payout.
Staff Writer Hani Barghouthi contributed.