by: Torie Wells Updated:
STALLINGS, N.C. - Investigators are looking into the cause of an early morning fire at the Emerald Lake Golf Course Clubhouse in Stallings.
Crews arrived around 12:30 a.m. Thursday, but were working on hot spots until about 10 a.m.
You could see the heavy smoke long before you could see the building. The sight drew dozens of people to see what happened to their clubhouse.
"I couldn't comprehend it until I got over here," said Rod McClure, who lives nearby and golfs there.
McClure has been playing there for 15 years.
"Hundreds of rounds of golf," he said.
It is one of the reasons he moved nearby and it is where he met many of his friends.
"It's a big loss to all of us," McClure said.
Some neighbors said they heard fireworks in the area last night. People who golf there said the heaviest damage was in the kitchen area and that the golf carts are kept below that.
The fire marshal said it’s too soon to know where or how the fire started.
Fire officials said the heavy smoke that could be seen in the area was due to a floor collapse that blocked water from getting to parts of the fire. That is also why firefighters had to be called in.
"A lot of water was used but it wasn't permeating through the collapsed areas," said Jon Williams, the deputy fire marshal.
He said that 40 or 50 golf carts were underneath, still burning. The fire was finally put out around 10 a.m.
By then, plans had changed.
"We had a 9:45 tee time," said Jeff Shadden, a golfer.
And memories had been discussed.
"Met a lot of good friends out here and we've had a lot of good times together," McClure said.
Those who would eat at the clubhouse, golf there and meet friends there hope it is up and running again soon.
"We really enjoyed it, not just the course itself but the people who work here. They were always real friendly," Shadden said.