News Details

Historic PGA clubhouse burns to the ground in Michigan

20 Feb 2022

Jennifer Chambers
The Detroit News
Two fire trucks remained on the scene Saturday of a fire that broke out 48 hours ago at Oakland Hills Country Club, ripping through the clubhouse. Bloomfield Township Fire Battalion Chief Alan Van Heck said on Saturday crews were still on site to put water on multiple hot spots from the enormous blaze that tore through the 110,000-square-foot clubhouse Thursday morning at the historic golf course.
Crews could remain as long as Sunday or Monday to fully extinguish the blaze, Van Heck said.
“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.
Van Heck said 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.
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