A fire Sunday at Mars Hill Country Club destroyed two buildings that house member-owned golf carts. Black smoke billowed from the buildings. Credit: Paula Cooley / Contributed

MARS HILL, Maine — Within seconds, a golf cart storage shed at the Mars Hill Country Club was engulfed in flames on Sunday afternoon as black smoke billowed from the burning building.

And in about 10 minutes, two metal storage buildings were reduced to a pile of sheet metal from the roaring flames that were fueled by the gasoline in the carts, part-time employee and country club member Harry Orser said on Monday. Forty-five member-owned golf carts were destroyed.

“Every few seconds it sounded like bombs going off,” Orser said, adding that the black smoke and heat from the blaze was intense.

The way Orser explained it, a member went into shed No. 3 to get his cart when he saw a cart on fire. He ran from the building yelling “fire,” and that quickly, shed No. 3 and shed No. 2 were ablaze.

Several fire departments — Mars Hill, Bridgewater and Easton — responded to the fire call and Mars Hill was on scene quickly, Orser said.

“They brought the pumper with the foam,” he said.

Thirty years ago, nearly to the day, the original clubhouse was destroyed when an arsonist set it on fire.

Although 45 golf carts were destroyed, the quick thinking of the Northern Maine Softball Umpires Association, which was at the golf course for an afternoon event, saved many more.

“They went into building No. 1 and pushed all the carts out,” Orser said.

Once the firefighters knocked down the blaze, sheds No. 2 and No. 3 were destroyed and shed No. 1 had some damage on one side.

There were no injuries in the fire.

Kathleen Phalen Tomaselli

Kathleen Phalen Tomaselli is a reporter covering the Presque Isle area. Over the years, she has covered crime, investigations, health, politics and local government, writing for the Washington Post, the...