By David Owens, Hartford Courant
CHESTER — Fire destroyed the clubhouse at the Pattaconk Yacht Club on the Connecticut River on Friday night, and the local and state fire marshals spent much of Saturday seeking the cause.
Club members had been at the building earlier on Friday preparing for an Irish Night event scheduled for Saturday night, said Chester Hose Co. Deputy Fire Chief James Grzybowski.
Firefighters were called to the club, at 61 Dock Road, about 9:30 p.m. by neighbors who reported seeing flames. Before firefighters arrived they could see the glow from the fire filling the sky.
“When we got there it was fully involved, through the roof,” Grzybowski said. “It was immediately just a defensive attack, an exterior attack.”
Since the club is close to the river, getting water to battle the fire was not a problem.
Firefighters from Chester, as well as Deep River, Essex, Haddam, Killingworth, Old Saybrook and the South District in Middletown, worked for nearly three hours to bring the fire under control. A propane tank vented during the fire, contributing to the blaze, Grzybowski said.
The fire probably had been burning for some time before it became visible to the people who spotted it and called it in, Grzybowski said. “It is set in a rural area where you wouldn’t see it right off the bat,” Grzybowski said.
Three ladder trucks and about six teams of firefighters with ground hoses poured water onto the fire. No injuries were reported.
During the investigation on Saturday, an excavator was used to knock down unstable walls and to move debris so that investigators could search for the fire’s cause.
Club officials could not be reached for comment Saturday.