Pa. Lakefront Nightclub, Park Destroyed by Huge Fire

Aug. 1, 2013
The Beach Club at Conneaut Lake was destroyed in a large fire that also damage boats and a neighboring building.

Aug. 01--CONNEAUT LAKE -- The group that is leasing the Beach Club at Conneaut Lake Park lost everything in a fire that destroyed the 77-year-old nightclub complex and a neighboring building early this morning.

Greg Sutterlin of Conneaut Lake-based Park Restoration LLC, which is leasing the Beach Club, the neighboring Dockside building and the Hotel Conneaut on the grounds of the 121-year-old park, said the fire spread from the Dockside to the Beach Club "and there's nothing left."

The Dockside was set up for a wedding this weekend, Sutterlin said.

"We just finished (renovating) the Dockside and just got done weeks ago on the facade of the beach club. We've had entertainment booked all summer long, all winter long, all year round ... it's a tragedy, a terrible, terrible loss," Sutterlin said.

The fire was reported at 2:19 a.m., according to Crawford County dispatch. There were no fire-related injuries. Nine fire departments responded and worked through the night. Officials said the fire was under control in about 90 minutes, but both buildings were fully involved when firefighters arrived.

One train of the Blue Streak roller coaster, a miniature train and all 25 of the park's fascination games were also destroyed in the fire.

State police fire marshal Trooper Kenneth Hamilton said it will be some time later today before he's able to inspect all parts of the building because fires are still burning in parts of the wreckage. The cause of the blaze is not yet known, but both buildings are considered total losses.

Boats docked behind the club were also damaged. It's not known how many were damaged and what the total losses will be.

The fire comes on a week when a Tennessee-based production company is filming a weeklong "makeover" at the park for a program that it plans to sell to the Travel Channel. Numerous volunteers are at the park this week helping to spruce up the place as part of the program.

It is second major fire at Conneaut Lake Park in a little more than five years. A 2008 blaze leveled the massive Dreamland Ballroom and damaged much of the park's midway.

Conneaut Lake Park is scheduled to open at 1 p.m.

Copyright 2013 - Erie Times-News, Pa.

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