Cold among woes at Locust Hill fire

CHARLES TOWN – Efforts to douse the fire that destroyed the clubhouse at Locust Hill Golf Course last week were hampered by cold weather, poor water pressure and a lack of available firefighters, according to one area fire official.

[cleeng_content id=”273848585″ description=”Read it now!” price=”0.49″ t=”article”]Lt. Billy McDonald of Independent Fire Company said it took a dozen fire crews nearly eight hours to completely extinguish the blaze that consumed the clubhouse and a nearby garage Friday. Fire crews were alerted at around 6:40 a.m., and Independent Fire Company was the first to arrive on the scene.

The cause of the fire is being investigated by the West Virginia State Fire Marshal. No one was injured.

McDonald said that when Independent firefighters arrived the buildings were heavily beset by flames.

“There was heavy fire and smoke conditions throughout the majority of the all the buildings when we got on the scene,” he said. “It took approximately eight hours to fight the fire but we had it under control after we had been on the scene for about two hours.”

McDonald said there were several factors that caused the fire to burn so long, including “the amount of building that was involved and the lack of manpower.”

“We need more volunteers,” he said. “Staffing is always an issue, and it was during this fire.”

Teams also had difficulty because there was inadequate pressure to nearby hydrants, he said. “We had issues with a couple of the fire hydrants. They weren’t supplying adequate water.”

“With the temperatures outside a lot of the guys’ tools and other things were freezing,” he added. “Everything was kind of working against us.”

Fire crews from Citizens, Friendship, Bakerton, Blue Ridge and Shepherdstown volunteer fire companies all arrived to fight the fire, as did crews from Berkeley County, Loudoun County, Va. and Clear Brook, Va.

A hazmat team from Mount Weather was also called since one of the buildings contained fertilizer, pesticides and other chemicals used to treat the greens. “Everything was contained there at the site,” McDonald said. “It was a precautionary measure.”


Despite the loss of the clubhouse and nearby garage, Locust Hill will reopen once the snow melts and the ground is sufficiently dry, according to its website. Updates can be found at locusthillgolf.com or on its Facebook page.


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