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Police: 2 people involved in arson fire at golf course

By Tom Greenwood
The Detroit News

Oakland Township — Police believe two people were involved in an arson fire Friday morning that destroyed nearly 60 golf carts and caused almost $1 million in damage.

Crews from seven different fire departments were needed to defeat the blaze around 3:18 a.m. Friday at Myth Golf and Banquet Center on Stony Creek Road.

"It was a working fire when we arrived, and it was golf carts in the front of the property," said Oakland Township Fire Chief Paul Strelchuk. "Toward the back, there are two large pole barns and one was on fire."

The first fire destroyed 31 carts parked outdoors, police said. A second fire was set to a single golf cart driven to a pond in the middle of the course. A third fire at a pole barn destroyed 25 golf carts, police said.

According to Strelchuk, the barn also contained maintenance equipment, fuel, fertilizer and oil containers.

"The pole barns were only about six feet apart and stationed in between them was a propane storage tank," Strelchuk said. "We put a line on it to keep it cool. One oil container did explode and it was pretty spectacular."

Fire officials believe the fire was deliberately set.

"Whoever set it drove a golf cart out onto the course and set it on fire," Strelchuk said. "So we ended up fighting fires in three different locations."

The identity of those involved were unknown as of Friday afternoon, police said.

Eventually, Oakland Township turned to mutual aid and called in firefighters from Oxford, Orion, Rochester, Rochester Hills as well as Washington, Bruce and Addison townships.

"Another problem is that there are no hydrants in that area so we had to put in an alarm for tankers," Strelchuk said. "We ended up drafting water from a nearby pond so we had plenty of water, and we needed it."

It took firefighters about 45 minutes to bring the blaze under control but the damage was still extensive.

"We have close to 100 golf carts that were completely destroyed," Strelchuk said. "They're just skeletons. One pole barn is completely gone while the other received minor damage."

According to Strelchuk, HAZMAT cleanup crews are on-site and will be working to remove oil, fuel and fertilizer that has pooled in different areas of the destroyed pole barn.

"But the golf course is open for business," Strelchuk. "Although some of them will end up walking the course."

Anyone with information is asked to call the Oakland County Sheriff's Office tip line at 888-TURN-1-IN or the Michigan Arson Prevention Committee at 800-44-ARSON. Tips leading to an arrest and/or conviction are eligible to recieve up to a $5,000 reward from MARC.

tgreenwood@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2023

Detroit News Staff Writer Candice Williams contributed.