The origin of the fire that burned down Oakland Hills Country Club might include propane tanks, a torch and a heater that were found at the scene, according to a report by the Detroit Free Press.
Though it could take weeks to determine an exact cause, two propane tanks, a propane heater and a propane torch were reportedly found as firefighters were battling the fire and confiscated for evidence. Officials have said they may be unable to determine the cause.
Bloomfield Township Fire Chief John LeRoy initially believed the origin to be in the walls and between the floors of the famed country club, explaining why the sprinkler system didn’t stop the flames. Bloomfield Township Fire Marshal Peter Vlahos reportedly indicated that workers used a propane torch and heater near the building before the fire was found.
Oakland Hills has hosted six U.S. Opens, three PGA Championships and the 2004 Ryder Cup.
Rick Palmer, the president of the country club, said Monday that board members decided to rebuild a replica of the clubhouse. There is no timetable or cost estimate for the rebuild as of yet.
“Our membership and the national golf community really made that a very easy decision for us to make because of the outpouring of how special it is,” Palmer said, “even our golf course architect, Gil Hanse, who wants our clubhouse to match his beautiful restoration.”
Palmer estimated the new clubhouse would take “at least a couple of seasons” before completion.