A careless smoker apparently is to blame for a fire Wednesday evening that caused significant damage at Arrowhead Golf Club's Farmstead Restaurant.
JD Clarizio, owner of the Farmstead Restaurant and golf course superintendent, said a burning cigarette tossed in a planter box outside the restaurant appears to have ignited bark dust, which in turn started a fire inside the walls of the restaurant at 28313 South Oregon Highway 213.
A total of 12 firefighters, including nine volunteers, from the Molalla Rural Fire Protection District No. 73 responded to a call at 5:32 p.m., according to Molalla Fire Marshall Mike Penunuri.
Another nine firefighters from Clackamas Fire District No. 1 also responded, including a truck, an engine, a chief officer, and a safety officer.
Clarizio said a golf course groundskeeper put out a small, bark dust fire in the planter box at about 4:30 p.m., but did not realize at that time that the fire had crept inside the walls of the restaurant. It wasn't until smoke appeared inside the restaurant that anyone realized the fire threat extended beyond the planter box.
Penunuri said when firefighters arrived about an hour later, there were no signs of fire on the exterior siding of the restaurant, but the back side of the siding showed a burn pattern that matched the area where the groundskeeper had put out the bark dust fire.
The bark dust wasnt on fire when we arrived, Penunuri said. But when we opened up part of the roof, there were active flames in the wall and in the roof cavity. We used a piercing nozzle to get inside the wall to put the fire out.
So, yes, it was burning inside the wall. It was just contained in that wall space where you couldnt see it from the outside.
Clarizio said it was fortunate that the firefighters arrived before the fire reached the attic space in a building that was originally a barn.
Its all cedar and all dry wood, Clarizio said. Things would have just went nuts if it had got up into that attic, but it didnt. The fire department got here, pounded through the roof, and shot water down there and put the fire out.
As clean-up crews moved in Thursday, it was still too early to know the full extent of the damage or to put an estimate on the cost of repairs.
At this point, we have no idea, Clarizio said. Theres a lot of electrical damage and were going to rip apart a lot of walls, so were going to have to see how much damage was done.
Clarizio said the restaurant is expected to remain open as repairs are made.
The damage is to the exterior, as far as physical damage, Clarizio said. The interior is mainly smoke damage, is all it is. But well be open and were going to have the Blazers game on Friday night and be rockin and rollin.