The entire investigation team spent nearly a week extensively examining the scene, conducting interviews and reviewing hours of video footage shot by witnesses and firefighters to determine the origin and cause of the fire.
The investigation is not complete, but the team has been able to rule out arson as a potential cause. A final report detailing the specific origin and cause findings will be available at the conclusion of the investigation.
“The thorough investigation of a fire of this size would not have been possible without the assistance and teamwork demonstrated by ATF, the Missouri State Fire Marshal’s Office and the St. Charles County Police Department,” CCFR Assistant Chief Steve Brown said. “This was a tragic event for our entire community, and we truly appreciate their willingness to step in and help.”
CCFR reported Feb. 20 that the National Response Team [NRT] of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms [ATF] along with ATF special agents from the Kansas City Field Division were activated Feb. 19 and joined the investigation into the fire that destroyed the Bogey Hills Country Club, Feb. 16-17.
The blaze burned most of the main structure at the 55-year-old club in St. Charles. While firefighters were able to rescue some members’ personal items from the club’s basement level, the building itself is a total loss. No one was hurt or killed in the incident.
Firefighters from CCFR, Cottleville, O’Fallon and St. Charles fire protection districts responded to the blaze, which was reported just before midnight. The fire quickly grew to three alarms.
CCFR Assistant Chief Gary Donovan said the age of the building played a major role in the incident. The building dates back to 1926, when construction favored lots of timber and heavy, wooden beams for support.
“Once a fire like that gets going, it can be hard to control and put out,” Donovan said. He added that by the time the flames reached the attic, the fire accelerated, prompting the third alarm.
“At that point, we took a defensive stance, surrounding the structure and just pouring water on it,” Donovan said.
He said crews were still on-site the following day, putting out hot spots and conducting mop-up operations. Donovan estimated they were there well into the afternoon.
Angel Walter Likens, the club’s general manager, said several upcoming weddings were scheduled and she is working with the affected couples to make other arrangements. She posted publicly to Facebook early on Feb. 17, “I am crushed but know that God will lead me. Thank you to everyone for all your support.” The Walters Family has owned the country club since 1962.