Oakland Hills Country Club says it salvaged most trophies, other memorabilia from fire

The fire that destroyed the Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Township destroyed an iconic piece of Michigan architecture but most of the trophies and other historic memorabilia were salvaged. 

Bloomfield Township Fire Chief John Leroy said they'll be fighting the fire throughout the night on Thursday and said he's never fought a fire like this one. Especially with the weather conditions added in and things are becoming even more treacherous.

Leroy said the call came in as a smoke investigation but they didn't know the 105,000-square-foot building was on fire, initially. Several hours later, the fire was still not contained on the wood-framed structure, one of the largest in the entire state.

Oakland Hills Country Club President Rick Palmer said the fire burned the historic building and memories inside.

"Besides the Grand Hotel, it's the second-largest wood structure (in Michigan), 22 years ago we went through an extensive renovation and restored it to its original content. So certainly a lot of memories and heavy hearts for that today," said Palmer. 

RELATED: Oakland Hills Country Club fire: Historic clubhouse destroyed in massive blaze

The good news is that they were able to salvage many invaluable items from inside.

"They’re in the process of auditing everyone they’ve taken out of the building we were able to get a few pieces of artwork that were really important to us, original pieces that were in the building and most of the trophies were able to be taken out," GM/COO Christine Pooler said.

When fire crews were inside the building, they were searching for smoke and what caused it. Then they found the fire in the attic of the building and it quickly deteriorated. But given the size of the building - trying to find the location of it is very difficult when you have no idea where it originated at," Leroy said.

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The cause and origin of the fire are still not known but the center of the building took on heavy damage while firefighters are working to contain the fire in the outside edges of the clubhouse.

"The clubhouse, the restaurant, all of the offices, the kitchen - all of those facilities are directly in the center of the building," Leroy said.

The fire chief said wind, weather, and water main issues contributed to the problems, let alone the age and type of building that was burning. 

"The difficulty we have with this fire, I believe this is the second-biggest wood-frame building in the state of Michigan. It has extensively been adding onto over the years making it very difficult to stop the fire or compartmentalize it," Leroy said.

The building has collapsed in on itself and there are still pockets of fire they're still fighting.

The Oakland County Sheriff's Office and other fire departments are still on scene to offer assistance in the fight against the fire.

At least 12 fire departments responded to help fight the fire and they were all using between 4 and 5,000 gallons of water to fight the fire every minute.