Routine check by security officer identifies clubhouse blaze

Officer was on regular patrol; firefighters tackled fire with lake water


Feb. 2--SANFORD -- Faced with a malfunctioning hydrant, firefighters pulled water from a nearby lake to battle a fire that damaged the clubhouse at Carolina Trace Country Club in Lee County on Thursday night.

"We had a water issue," said Todd McNeill, chief of the Carolina Trace Volunteer Fire Department. "We drafted water from Lake Trace to get the fire contained."

No one was hurt in the fire, which was reported at about 9:35 p.m. by a security guard making routine checks, McNeill said. The 20,000-square-foot clubhouse holds meeting space, a golf pro shop, a full-service bar and dining rooms.

The flames were contained within two hours, but it took firefighters from at least eight nearby stations until almost 4 a.m. to fully extinguish the blaze, according to McNeill.

Carolina Trace is just off N.C. 87 in Lee County, between Spring Lake and Sanford.

County investigators are trying to determine the cause of the fire. McNeill said that although the building was only partially damaged, firefighters couldn't tell exactly where the fire started.

Copyright (c) 2008, The Fayetteville Observer, N.C. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.