Investigators continue working to identify the cause of a massive fire that destroyed the clubhouse at Indian Hills Country Club in Bowling Green on Saturday night.
Damage estimates were unavailable, but the building is a total loss, according to a news release issued Sunday by the city of Bowling Green.
Three people who were inside the building when the fire began before 8 p.m. Saturday escaped unharmed, and no firefighters were injured in battling the blaze.
Daylight Sunday revealed that virtually nothing remains of the clubhouse other than a charred husk of the building.
Bowling Green Fire Department Chief Jason Colson said his agency received a call at 7:39 p.m. from an employee who reported a loud pop and that the sprinkler system had activated.
By the time firefighters arrived at 7:45 p.m., flames were visible from the outside, extending from the roof on the back of the structure.
Firefighters attempted to access the building and got to the second floor, but encountered a large volume of fire and extensive heat in the attic.
Flames spread across the entire length of the building in the attic area, causing firefighters to retreat and battle the fire from outside, Colson said.
The roof collapsed at some point during the blaze, and smoke was visible to motorists on Cemetery Road.
A total of 27 BGFD personnel staffing five engines and three ladder trucks responded to the fire, Colson said.
At some point, the BGFD started experiencing water supply issues while contending with the large scope of the fire and requested assistance from the Alvaton, Plano and Gott volunteer fire departments, which brought four water tankers and two additional engines.
While firefighters tried to control the fire from the front and one side of the building, several onlookers gathered on the golf course behind the clubhouse to take in the destruction up close.
Indian Hills President Bruce Fane said one employee and two club members were in the building at the time the fire began. Fane said the people heard a popping sound and walked around the building attempting to find its origin, eventually attributing it to a light fixture.
The three people were able to escape unharmed, and Fane said he came to the site after receiving a text message.
“At first we didn’t think it was that bad when we learned what happened, but it went up quickly,” Fane said. “By the time I got here, it was evident the building was going to be gone.”
Fane, a 25-year member at Indian Hills, spoke with city fire investigators and commiserated with club pro John Mullendore while the fire raged.
The club’s board of directors planned to meet Sunday to discuss options for the short-term future, which Fane said might include bringing trailers and temporary offices to the site before rebuilding a permanent facility.
“We’re family here, we come together when we have to and we’ll do it again after this,” Fane said Saturday. “The rebuilding begins tonight.”
The country club was established in 1956 on land overlooking Barren River and hosts numerous tournaments throughout the year, as well as wedding receptions and other events.
– Follow courts reporter Justin Story on Twitter @jstorydailynews or visit bgdailynews.com.