Annapolis Yacht Club vows to rebuild after fire

Posted at 5:57 AM, Dec 14, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-14 05:57:22-05

It was a fast moving fire that quickly went to three alarms.  The flames sparked at the Annapolis Yacht Club on Compromise Street just after 2 p.m. Saturday.

"We had 90 people and 30 pieces of equipment in a matter of minutes,” said Annapolis Mayor Mike Pantelides.

Sunday morning, the extent of the damage was clear.  Charred wood, broken windows and melted siding covers most of the top two floors.  It's a devastating blow.

"Of course it's heartbreaking,” said Commodore Rob Jabin.  “It's heartbreaking for everybody and we're deeply saddened."

Governor Larry Hogan came out Sunday to tour the yacht club and see what was left.  He called the fire a tragedy, but says it's lucky the club was closed when the blaze broke out and no one was hurt.  Workers were prepping to handle reservations for more than 600 people to watch the Parade of Lights, an annual boat parade.  That event was canceled because of the blaze.

"We're just here to let the yacht club, the Mayor and the Executive know that the State Government is going to provide every possible assistance that we can," Hogan said.

The club was founded in 1886, and the current building was opened in 1963.

Officials say right now they're focused on finding a temporary space to get back up and running so the 150 people who work there won't be out of their jobs.

"We're certainly taking care of them through the holiday season, and we are putting a plan in place for relocation in the interim,” Vice Commodore Debbie Gosselin said.  “We hope to keep as many as possible employed doing what they have been doing for us, it's a wonderful staff and we're committed to them."

“The Annapolis Yacht Club and the city of Annapolis is more than just bricks and mortar, it's community and we'll rebuild and it will be better than it was before and we're looking forward to that," said Jabin.

It's still unclear if the parade of lights will be rescheduled.