The Smoky Hill Country Club in Hays remains open for golf, but that’s about it for now.
An early-morning fire Wednesday burned up the kitchen and caused smoke damage to the clubhouse.
"There’s no food or beverage," said the club’s general manager, Dave Weakland. "The kitchen is a burned-out loss. The rest is smoke damaged."
No one was injured in the fire.
Besides the kitchen, the clubhouse contains the ballroom, dining room, office, lounges, pro shop and restrooms.
Midwest Energy Inc. was on hand early Wednesday to shut off electricity to the building. Water is also shut off, Weakland said.
Hays Fire Department got the call at 7:07 a.m., said Hays Fire Department Chief Ryan Hagans.
"Fortunately there was an employee out there working when the fire started and he called 911," Hagans said.
Five HFD trucks responded, as well as a truck from the Ellis County Rural Fire Department, Hagans said. The fire was out by 9 a.m., he said, but responders remained at the clubhouse until after 1 p.m.
"We just make sure the fire doesn’t rekindle," Hagans said. Throughout the afternoon, firefighters also were on hand to investigate the cause.
"They believe it was an electrical fire," said Weakland, who starts work at 6 a.m.
Weakland said he was in the dining room working when he opened an outside door to check the pool, saw smoke billowing from vents in the clubhouse roof, and called for help.
"The fire department was here lickety split," Weakland said, working Wednesday afternoon from a golf cart in the parking lot, where some of the club’s 386 members were stopping to talk.
"We’ve had a lot of members here today and everyone is very understanding, and they are optimistic," Weakland said.
Member Randy Schmidtberger, who was out to hit some range balls, chatted from his golf cart with pro shop attendant Allen Zollinger, who was set up at a table outside to help guests.
"I felt melancholy about the whole situation," said Schmidtberger. "I come out and play golf and I have a lot of friends out here. I come out to socialize, especially with what’s been going on."
Normally the club opens by 9 a.m. for golf, and by 11 a.m. for dining.
"We’re pretty much shut down," Weakland said, mentioning that an insurance adjuster, as well as ServiceMaster disaster restoration are expected to be out Thursday.
For now, with the phones to the clubhouse not working, and water and electricity shut off, Weakland said he’ll try to set up temporary food and beverage from one of the other buildings on site.
"We have a lot of great members," Weakland said. "We will bounce back from this."