UPDATED: Dec. 13, 2015 5:17 p.m.
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — State and local officials in Maryland pledged Sunday to help get the Annapolis Yacht Club up and running again, a day after the building was badly damaged by fire in a city that is a destination for boating enthusiasts.
Rod Jabin, the club’s commodore, said the club first plans to find a suitable place to relocate for now.
“It’s a building, and the Annapolis Yacht Club in the city of Annapolis is more than just bricks and mortar,” Jabin said. “It’s a community and we’ll rebuild, and it’ll be better than it was before and we’re looking forward to it.”
Gov. Larry Hogan said the state will help however it can.
“It’s an incredible part of Annapolis, and it’s just unfathomable the loss that we have here, but I committed to the yacht club and to the mayor, the county executive, that the state is going to provide every possible assistance,” Hogan said.
A meeting of local officials has been scheduled for Monday to help find temporary space for the club, Mayor Mike Pantelides said. The mayor, who saw the damage inside, described it as “devastating.”
“It does not look good on the inside,” Pantelides said. “I took a look at it. It was very, it was devastating. I walked in there. Every room, I mean, the entire floor, the ceiling, all the walls, were just covered in black and burned out.”
The Annapolis Fire Department says the fire began around 2:15 p.m. Saturday. About 90 firefighters helped fight the blaze at the waterfront building.
One firefighter was taken to the hospital with a minor injury, and there were no reports of civilian injuries.
“We’re going through the rubble right now, and we don’t have any determination of a cause at this point,” Capt. Janet Wiseman, of the Annapolis fire marshal’s office, said.
The club was founded in 1886. The building was constructed in the 1970s. It did not have sprinklers, Wiseman said.
The fire forced the cancellation of the annual Parade of Lights, which features boats decorated in colored lights. More than 600 people had reservations Saturday night to watch the parade from the club, Jabin said.
“So we’re very thankful that it happened when it did, because had it happened later in the evening when the club was full of guests, it might have been a different story today,” Jabin said.
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