New evidence: Security recording salvaged from Oakland Hills Country Club fire

The recording shows two people walking through the halls with blowtorches
Oakland Hills Country Club fire investigation update
Published: Mar. 17, 2022 at 12:52 PM EDT
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BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. (WILX) - Police are investigating a devastating fire that ripped through a century-old clubhouse in February. The Oakland Hills Country Club was built in the early 1900s, being completed in 1922. The club had just undergone a $12 million renovation in 2021.

Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard provided an update into that investigation Thursday.

Background: Fire significantly damages historic Oakland Hills Country Club in Metro Detroit

“We hope to have our preliminary findings by April,” Sheriff Bouchard said, “Detail conclusions could take up to a year.”

Sheriff Bouchard then related that investigators were able to recover video files from servers within the club that had been covered in water. The video shows two workers walking through the clubhouse, running blow torches over the floor.

New evidence salvaged from Oakland Hills Country Club fire

When asked directly if the workers were suspected of intentionally starting the fire, Sheriff Bouchard was quick to point out that the context of the video is important.

“It doesn’t appear that way,” Sheriff Bouchard said, adding that he hadn’t ruled anything out yet. “They were installing rubberized flashing as part of their maintenance... They were using the torch to apply a dry heat.”

“They notified fire personnel on scene, after they saw them working,” Bloomfield Township Fire Chief John LeRoy said.

Oakland Hills officials said they plan to rebuild the club house that was destroyed the morning of Feb. 17. The flames spread quickly, engulfing much of the clubhouse and throwing thick columns of smoke into the sky as emergency crews fought to contain it.

Chief LeRoy said, “Anytime you’re using an open flame in your home, or in a structure, you need to be ready.”

There is no current timeline on how long it will take to rebuild, but officials said they expect it to take a could seasons.


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