by Jamie Nash & Lloyd Overcash
A two-alarm fire spread quickly Sunday morning, and destroyed what was once a thriving night club in North Harris County.
A little before 9 a.m., the Ponderosa Fire Department responded to a commercial fire at 14700 Kuykendahl, which was once known as “Club Bugotti.” PFD Chief Fred Windisch said the club was permanently closed, and he believes the building was unoccupied. Crews arrived to find heavy fire. Ultimately, Windisch said about 75 firefighters and multiple apparatus from several North Harris County fire departments responded.
Windisch said the building was a total loss and would probably have to be demolished.
Lt. Dean Hensley Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office was on scene to investigate. He said calls to 911 included one made by a medic who noticed smoke while driving past in an ambulance. Hensley estimated the building had been unoccupied from six months to a year and the first crew on location saw what appeared to be possible forced entry on the front of the building.
“We’ll be investigating any leads, talking to witnesses and the owner,” Hensley said.
At the time of the interview, Hensley and other investigators had been unable to enter the building because it was still an active fire.
“There was a collapse in the center of the building that made it unsafe on the inside,” Hensley said, pointing out ladder trucks and exterior operations still working to completely extinguish the fire.
Hensley said the high temperatures and humidity were likely part of the reason so many companies were called in.
Chief Windisch said he wanted to thank all the firefighters that responded and assisted. He also noted they were keeping an eye on the firefighters because of the intense heat. His concerns were validated when two firefighters were treated on the scene for heat exhaustion.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation by the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office.