The owners of the Venue at Harmony Ridge golf club plan to rebuild after a devastating fire that started in front of the kitchen.
“We’re definitely going to rebuild. There’s no way we wouldn’t,” said Ricki Paul, who owns the golf course, banquet center and music venue, with her husband, Greg. “We love the property.”
The fire broke out the morning of Monday, May 18. The business hadn't yet opened for the day. An employee who was trying to get to work at 7 a.m. saw the fire. About a minute after she found out the building was on fire, Paul started receiving condolences via text.
None of the kitchen equipment was burned, though the roof fell in on it. In a nearby hallway, where the fire originated, there sat three freezers, a walk-in cooler, a slicer, an ice machine and plastic insulated boxes. There were also some rags stored there that they had washed the day before.
The state police fire marshal told the owners he is positive the grease rags caused the fire.
“These metal freezers, it was like they just melted them,” Paul said.
Paul said they took care of washing rags and linens themselves, and when the materials got too bad they threw them away.
“Unknowing to us, I should have been sending the rags out. I never liked to because they chemically treat them and they stink,” said Paul, who plans to use a linen service moving forward.
Open for business
The fire left a mess. Numerous friends came to help salvage pictures, guitars and more items that weren’t destroyed in the fire. Two barbecue caterers helped clean up ashes and debris from the pavilion. Tables were carried out and cleaned like new, and an outdoor pub was set up with tents loaned to the business.
“All these people just stepped up and helped us,” she said.
Harmony Ridge is covered by loss of business and their insurance company is also working with them.
They are renting a large tent that seats 150 to 300 people, plus chairs, to continue providing service.
Since the fire, they have done a retirement party with the help of the caterer who does their barbecue. Paul said there are two golf outing benefits coming up, one for a man who passed away and another to help fight childhood cancer.
For those who want to change venues, the Pauls have tried to help relocate them to other places. So far, they have returned three deposits.
“If anyone would want their money returned, I’m happy to do it,” she said.
Paul said they hoped to rebuild by September, but they aren’t sure how long the process will take. Architects estimate that if everything goes perfectly, work should be complete in nine months.
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