A Thursday morning fire at Davenport's Credit Island Lodge left fire officials searching for a cause and people who planned events at the city-owned park venue searching for a new location.
“It is a pretty sad day for Credit Island,” First Ward Alderman Nathan Brown said. “That lodge has been there forever and a day."
City spokeswoman Jennifer Nahra said the city plans to hire an engineer to assess the damage before making any decisions regarding the future of the facility.
Firefighters were called at 7:55 a.m. and received a second call soon after from Rock Island indicating that flames were coming from the roof of the brick lodge on Credit Island across the Mississippi River, Davenport Fire Chief Lynn Washburn said.
Firefighters were somewhat hindered in getting to the building because of the wall of sandbags and Hesco barriers that remained in place to protect it from Mississippi River flooding, Washburn said.
Fire crews initially entered the building, but were soon pulled out after the second-floor ceiling began to collapse, the chief said.
"We have to keep our people safe," she said.
Another difficulty for firefighters was the water supply, Washburn said. With only one nearby fire hydrant, firefighters had to draft water from the Mississippi River to fight the fire, despite concerns that debris in the river could clog the water pumps, Washburn said.
The department asked Buffalo and Blue Grass fire departments to bring tanker trucks to the scene to supply more water.
Washburn said Thursday it was too soon to know the cause of the fire or the extent of the damage.
The lodge was built in 1922 to serve as a clubhouse for the golf course at Credit Island Park. It underwent a renovation and update in 2011 to install new duct work and replace window and doorway trim. The golf course was closed after the 2008 flood and turned into a disc golf course.
Brown said he hoped something could be salvaged of the clubhouse.
Nahra said the city is working with people who had events planned there this summer find accommodations in other city facilities.
The building was unoccupied at the time of the fire, and no injuries were reported, Washburn said.
Nahra said overnight crews had stayed in the building during the recent flooding, but had not been in the building in recent days as the floodwaters receded.
The fire won’t stop the work of the Friends of Credit Island. They want to see the lodge rebuilt, the group’s secretary said.
“It is a landmark and a very important place to the island itself,” Mary Cormier said. “We will work with the city to get this rebuilt and look forward to a future with many events to be held at the lodge."