Two fire engines remained at the scene Saturday of a fire that broke out 48 hours ago at Oakland Hills Country Club, tearing through the clubhouse.
Bloomfield Township Fire Battalion Chief Alan Van Heck said on Saturday crews were still on hand to put water on several hotspots from the massive blaze that engulfed the 110,000 clubhouse. square feet Thursday morning on the historic golf course.
CONTINUED: Challenges and costs await Oakland Hills reconstruction, clubs say
Crews could stay as long as Sunday or Monday to completely extinguish the blaze, Van Heck said.
“Once the ground starts falling on top and the attic falls on top, you have pockets of fire and it sandwiches,” Van Heck said.
Oakland County Sheriff’s Office fire investigators are assisting the Bloomfield Township Fire Marshal in determining the cause and origin of the fire.
Van Heck said the fire marshal will answer questions on Monday.
Van Heck said he was not allowed to discuss the cause of the fire, but it appears to have started outside on the walls and worked its way up.
“There were sprinklers that exploded. I don’t know how many. It wasn’t until long before the fire that many of them exploded,” Van Heck said. “It’s hard for them (the sprinklers) to come on. They need direct heat.”
“I’ve been here 27 years, it’s one of the biggest fires I’ve ever been on and a lot of guys said the same thing,” Van Heck said.
Oakland Hills is over a century old and highly ranked in the golf industry and was poised to host major championships over the next decade.
The clubhouse is also a museum of sorts, displaying photos, paintings, trophies and other artifacts from major tournaments over the years. A display case near the main entrance displayed replicas of tournament trophies won by Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Ben Hogan.
The golf club founded in 1916 is likely to be rebuilt with the help of some 750 members from some of Metro Detroit’s top business leaders, wealthiest families and a large insurance payout.