Brownsville Country Club Destroyed in Fire

3 years 5 months 1 week ago Monday, May 15 2017 May 15, 2017 May 15, 2017 5:42 PM May 15, 2017 in News

BROWNSVILLE – A well-known country clubhouse in Brownsville was completely destroyed over the weekend.

Fire crews fought a fire at the Valley International Country Clubhouse Saturday for more than 12 hours. The blaze started before 10:00 a.m.

“If you have lived in Brownsville for any amount of time, you’ve probably celebrated an event there,” Brownsville Fire Assistance Chief Cesar Pedraza said.

Officials said an unlikely source fueled the fire as firefighters struggled to put it out.

“It had what we call a built-up roof, which means older roofs that are replaced with newer roofs. That just adds to the fire load, which adds to the heat, which adds to the smoke and makes it that much more difficult to reach the seed of the fire and extinguish it,” Pedraza explained.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS spoke to professional roofer, Frank Puente Jr., to find out why a roof would have so many layers. He said it’s all about cost.

“A lot of times people think, well it’s cheaper they’ll cut corners. They think it’s less expensive because of the labor issue, but in the end it’s really not that much more. And I tell customers if you don’t do it right now, you’re going to end up paying more,” he said.

Puente said it was common practice not long ago. He recommends when replacing a roof, to completely take off the old material down to the decking. It helps eliminate several risk factors.

“One of the reasons is the weight issue. A lot of people will say, well it’s not that much. But if you get rain or any kind of debris up on the roof, it’s going to add more weight that could cause a danger,” he said.

VICC Manager Kevin Sargent said now that the venue is gone jobs will have to be cut. The golf course, he added, remains open.

Firefighters said the fire started in the kitchen area, but the the cause is still under investigation.

Sargent said his staff is working to contact people that had reserved a venue at VICC.

People that reserved a date and put down a deposit will get a refund or help finding another venue. He said the original two-story clubhouse built in 1910 also burned down.

The building was about 6,000 square feet and was built around the 1970s. Sargent said the hope is to rebuild the clubhouse.

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