Fire Causes $3M in Damage to Fla. Country Club

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. --

Investigators say an electrical problem sparked an overnight fire that caused an estimated $3 million in damage at the Coral Ridge Country Club in Fort Lauderdale.

At about 2:45 a.m., nearby residents called 911 with reports of a fire and explosions at the country club.

Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue arrived at 3801 Bayview Drive and found a building fully engulfed in flames. Officials said the fire started in the golf cart barn.

"When units arrived, we found fire through the roof. It took us approximately one hour to extinguish the fire with 30 to 35 people," said Assistant Fire Marshal Jeff Lucus.

Firefighters quickly attacked the flames with water and foam. People who live nearby were worried, but firefighters were able to contain the blaze to the property.

Resident Rafal Simonowsky was awakened by his dogs barking.

"The dogs started going crazy in the house," he said. "(I) got up and saw these lights. My friends started calling me this morning. I saw big, black smoke."

The 3,000-square-foot building, which is adjacent to the north side of the main clubhouse, held 90 GPS-equipped, electric golf carts, said Matt Little, a spokesman for Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue. Those golf carts were worth about $540,000, Little said.

The fire gutted that building and destroyed the golf carts. The golf shop also sustained heavy smoke damage.

Investigators said a storage room where members' golf bags were kept was also damaged.

A firefighter injured his leg and was taken to Broward General Medical Center but is expected to be OK. No other injuries were reported.

Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue investigators said Tuesday morning that the fire was accidental and was sparked by an electrical problem.

Many understand the fire is not the end of the world, but it was still a scare and will be an inconvenience for those who spend their leisure time on the links.

"It's a sad loss," said Simonowsky, who is a previous member. "A lot of people in this community use this golf course, use this club. (There is) a lot of walking people are going to have to do without those golf carts."

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