EAST DUBUQUE, Ill. — A fire Thursday afternoon badly damaged the clubhouse of a local golf course, but no injuries were reported.
While watching firefighters battle the blaze, a co-owner of Lacoma Golf Club in East Dubuque talked about her mixed emotions.
“I’m shocked,” said Sarah Cunningham. “I’m just glad to hear everyone got out safe.”
Authorities responded to Lacoma at about 3:10 p.m. Thursday after an employee called 911 to report the smell of smoke in the building, according to East Dubuque Police Chief Steve O’Connell. He reported that the three employees inside the clubhouse were able to evacuate safely.
Cunningham reported that the employee smelled smoke in the area of the bar.
East Dubuque firefighters responded and were quickly joined by crews from other local departments, including Menominee-Dunleith and Galena in Illinois; Key West, Iowa; and Jamestown, Wis.
In addition to serving as the golf course’s clubhouse, the building also houses the office of Midwest Irrigation, a business that designs, installs and services irrigation systems.
As of 3:30 p.m., heavy smoke was spewing from the building while firefighters worked inside.
Flames were seen emerging from the upper level and roof of the building, and firefighters were ordered to evacuate the structure for safety reasons at about 4 p.m.
“We did that because we had crews operating inside and we ended up with fire through the roof on the north side there,” said East Dubuque Fire Chief Joe Heim.
“When we had fire through the roof, that made for no-good conditions for people to be inside, so that (alarm) was to evacuate people out of there.” Heim added.
Firefighters continued to put water on the exterior, and some climbed on sections of the building to gain a better vantage point to hose down the flames.
Along with below-freezing temperatures, firefighters also had to deal with limited access to water, Heim said.
Lacoma occupies 350 acres, with the clubhouse sitting near the end of Timmerman Drive.
“Our last water supply is down where the condos end, so we had to call in tankers and have the water shuttled in,” Heim said.
He said the cause of the fire was not immediately apparent.
As of 8 p.m., a few firefighters remained on the scene. No flames were visible.
Cunningham added that she anticipates the course’s insurance will be able to cover the damage costs to the building.
“We’re going to have to move on with what we have,” Cunningham said. “We’ll make the most of it.”