PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — St. Andrews Bay Yacht Club regulars are taking stock of their losses after Sunday’s fire. Many of the lost items can never be replaced.
The yacht club was home to cherished memories for many in the community. While memories last forever, a lot of physical damage was done to the club’s prized possessions.
“Every time a visiting Rotarian from another club comes they bring a banner from their club,” said St. Andrews Bay Yacht Club Commodore Will Cramer. “We had a collection of those, and we had our own rotary bell and our own banners, our own memorabilia. We keep everyone’s badge. We’ve had them from people who’ve been members long, long into the past. All that stuff was stored here for the most part.”
The club celebrated its 90th anniversary this year. Established in 1933, the club moved to its Bunkers Cove Road home the next year in 1934. That was well before fire alarms or fire suppression systems that are required today.
“We’re going to meet with our insurance adjuster,” said Cramer. “The claim started early yesterday morning. Our goal is to get members back down here doing something as quickly as possible.”
While the fire devastated the club and community, officials say there’s a silver lining. They’ll be able to rebuild to suit their needs moving forward.
“We will rebuild. We will be bigger. We will be better,” said Former St. Andrews Bay Yacht Club Commodore Jimmy Ruthven. “Our building was dated and it will be an opportunity to renew it and try to instill in our kids and grandkids the history that’s here.”
Panama City Fire officials are still investigating, but say they believe the cause of the fire was accidental in nature.