Iconic athletic club consumed by flames, gutted


LINCOLN COUNTY, N.C. — A fire early Friday morning gutted a popular athletic club in Lincoln County.

The fire started around 3 a.m. at the Westport Club on Shanklin Lane in Denver near Lake Norman.

Firefighters from at least two different departments worked to contain the fire.

The fire grew so quickly that it became dangerous for crews as portions of the building started to collapse. At one point, officials said the clubhouse was engulfed in flames. It took about four hours to put the fire out.

“Super bright. Orange as could be and it was big,” said Michele Driver, who lives across the street from the athletic club.

The club has 8 lighted clay tennis courts, fitness facility, a large pool and kids swim area. The fire ripped through the two-story clubhouse where fitness classes are held.

“You can see the top of it, and it’s all gone. It’s kind of sad,” Driver said.

Channel 9 received pictures of the giant flames from security expert Ross Bulla, who we work with often. Bulla told us that the club is surrounded by single family and multifamily homes so the risk of fire exposure was significant. He also said the club is a staple in the Westport community.

“This is an iconic building in East Lincoln. It’s one of the larger buildings,” Bulla said. “Westport is one of the original communities developed on Lake Norman.”

(Below is a picture of the Westport Club before the fire)

No injuries were reported and there’s no word on how the fire started.

“This is king of the heart of the community,” neighbor Brad Baranowski said. “I’m just glad every is OK and that everything will be fine moving forward.”

All residents displaced after massive fire destroys southwest Charlotte apartment building

© 2020 Cox Media Group