The reports of a fire came in at 9:17 a.m. Thursday (Feb. 17). Firefighters broke holes in the ceiling and discovered the entire attic was ablaze. The fire spread quickly and was still burning as of 5 p.m.
Dozens of community firefighting crews were out all day, trying to fight the fire. Most of the building and the priceless bits of memorabilia and art have been destroyed.
It appears the club house is a total loss. Club officials say they are going to be able to rebuild in due time. The building was built in 1922.
Oakland Hills Country Club is the second largest wooden-framed building in Michigan, behind only the Mackinac Island Grand Hotel. The three-alarm fire was visible for a long distance and attracted members like Denise Staudt and Rebecca Robinson.
“It is heartbreaking, it’s just devastating to see the loss, to see the history, to see all the 100-year-old chandeliers, and all the framed pictures and the autographs that are going to be just gone,” Denise Stout said.
The club has a rich golf history and is scheduled to host the USGA Women’s Open in a few years.
“It has extensively been added to over the years and making it very difficult to stop the fire or compartmentalize it,” Bloomfield Township fire chief John Leroy said.
Course president Rick Palmer said they fully intend to hold the USGA tournament and more.
“Buildings can be rebuilt and we will come back stronger than ever,” Palmer said.
Members said there was a lot of historic golf memorabilia in the center of the building and they fear it is gone.