Couple's wedding plans go up in flames
$750,000 fire at Deer Run Golf Course destroys clubhouse and plans for wedding reception
A massive fire at Deer Run Golf Course may have burned a hole in a couple's wedding plans, but the ceremony will carry on.
Mike Vriesema, 29, and Shae-Lynn Vaughan, 25, planned to hold their wedding reception in the banquet hall after they exchanged vows on a golf green at the course in Chatham-Kent on June 2.
Golf course owners called Vriesema on Thursday morning at around 6 a.m. and told him fire had destroyed the clubhouse, including the banquet hall.
"I was kind of speechless, I was shocked and disappointed. I don’t know what I really felt to be honest. It was surreal to find out that 18 months of planning fell apart within 24 hours," Vriesema said.
Bride-to-be Vaughan was sleeping when Vriesema received the call about the fire. Vriesema told his fiancée to go back to sleep, but she wanted to know who called.
'I was just in shock and put the blankets over my head.'— Shae-Lynn Vaughan
"Then he told me and then I think I was just in shock and put the blankets over my head and thought it was a bad dream," Vaughan said.
Thursday’s $750,000 blaze didn’t derail the entire wedding. Deer Run owners helped the couple move the reception to St. Mary’s Hall in Blenheim, Ont.
All 100 guests will be accommodated and the menu will remain the same, he added.
"The atmosphere in the new hall is just as nice as it was at Deer Run, so we’re happy," Vriesema said.
The Deer Run site had everything they needed to have a great wedding, but Vriesema said she’s not dwelling on the past.
"We thought with this venue we had all our bases covered; like there’s no possible way anything could go wrong. It threw a big curve ball at us, for sure," Vaughan said.
The couple still plans to get married on the Deer Run Golf Course and if it rains the backup plan is their church, located about 15 minutes away.
"It’s not what I dreamed of, that’s for sure, but in the end I kind of don’t care anymore how it turns out. I just want to be with my family and friends and have a big party and marry the man of my dreams," Vaughan said.
"I think if we can make it through this, we’re set for life."
Fire not suspicious and investigation continues, officials say
Thursday's blaze at the Deer Run Golf Course in Chatham-Kent is not suspicious, police say.
Chatham-Kent police and fire departments and the Ontario Fire Marshal's office spent Thursday combing the scene.
A fire destroyed the golf course's clubhouse, causing an estimated $750,000 in damage.
Const. Renee Cowell of the Chatham-Kent Police said emergency crews were called to the golf club at 3 a.m. Thursday.
Cowell said no one was injured and the clubhouse could not be saved.
Chatham-Kent assistant fire chief Rick Scharf said it took 53 firefighters from four stations three hours to extinguish the flames that stretched 15 metres into the air.
Only the front facade of the building remains, according to Scharf.
"Just spraying some water on it from your hose really doesn’t put it out right away," Scharf said. "It was quite a battle."
The golf course is on Bloomfield Road near Cedar Springs.
Staff also addressed the fire on the golf club's website.
"A tragic fire has struck our clubhouse early this a.m. May 31, 2012. We will remain closed today. We will re-open for golf Friday, June 1st, 2012," reads a posting on the course's homepage.
Deer Run has three nine-hole courses and is home to a bar and grill and banquet hall.
Officials are expected to update the investigation Friday afternoon.