A huge fire this morning destroys the clubhouse at the North Augusta Country Club, and investigators say this one is suspicious.
The clubhouse is on Gregory Lake Road, near the Edgefield County line.
It took 5 fire departments to get it under control, and while the job for them has ended, the work for investigators is just beginning.
Deputies block off what’s now a crime scene. The sight of burned bricks and ashes from what used to be the North Augusta Country Club is just too much for some looking on.
“It makes my stomach churn and my heart flutter. I’ve been a member here for 30 years,” said country club member Harold Moon.
Investigators are calling the fire suspicious. They have no clue how it started. Crews were called out at 5:30 Monday morning, arriving to major flames. Some firefighters are even calling it the biggest blaze they've ever handled.
“This was too far gone for any saving when we got here this morning,” said Meriwether Fire Chief Fay Fulmer.
This is a tough time for Fred Layman. He just purchased the country club on Friday. As a new owner, he had immediate plans for renovation.
“It’s been devastating, catastrophic, there no words that can explain, what I’m feeling, it took about a year of due diligence to acquire the facility,” Layman said.
And if there's anything bright to find on this day, it’s a rainbow arched over the ruined clubhouse.
Crews and club members know as bad as the fire was, it could have been worse. After all, no one was hurt, and the course itself was not damaged.
“We going to have a temporary build put up here and open our swimming pool on time, and we'll rebuild,” said Layman.
The owner says they plan on reopening the golf course tomorrow.
The club has been here for about 45 years. Some of the country club members said there were a few people not happy the place had been sold last week, but the owner says he does not think that had anything to do with this fire.