Vacant country club ravaged by fire

A three-alarm fire destroyed the former Cedarbrook Country Club building off Route 309 in Cheltenham. Crews were still on the scene early Monday. TOM KELLY IV / For The Inquirer
A three-alarm fire destroyed the former Cedarbrook Country Club building off Route 309 in Cheltenham. Crews were still on the scene early Monday. TOM KELLY IV / For The Inquirer
Posted: May 08, 2012

Fire officials in Cheltenham Township are investigating who might have been in the area of a vacant country club building that went up in flames late Sunday.

The three-alarm fire, which lit the night sky, already was through the roof of the former Cedarbrook Country Club building when the first of 100 firefighters arrived just after 10:30 p.m. Fire Marshal Joseph O’Neill said the building in the 8400 block of Limekiln Pike was a total loss, although he could not estimate its worth.

“It was pretty much a defensive firefighting strategy from the beginning,” O’Neill said. “It was vacant. We weren’t going to stop it.”

No one was injured, O’Neill said.

Firefighters lingered at the site of the gutted U-shaped structure throughout midday Monday, mopping up and extinguishing hot spots. The building was 2? stories high.

Whenever a vacant building burns, officials canvass witnesses to learn who may have been seen near the area in the hours leading up to the blaze, O’Neill said. He declined to detail any leads or say if there was more than one point of ignition, but said that officials might be able to release more information Tuesday.

The country club is on the premises of the Wyngate Townhomes development near the Easton Road ramp to southbound Route 309. It was being used for offices and storage, O’Neill said.

Townhouses more than 200 feet from the burning building were monitored for flying embers by firefighters and were not damaged, O’Neill said. There were no evacuations.

Montgomery County Public Safety Director Tom Sullivan said the club once was at the Cheltenham site, but relocated to Penllyn Pike in Blue Bell a number of years ago and still operates from that location.

The fire at Wyngate was placed under control about 3 a.m.

Contact Bonnie L. Cook at 610-313-8232 or bcook@phillynews.com. Read her blog “MontCo Memo” at www.philly.com.

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