A DEVASTATING fire which gutted a Waterford golf club may have been caused by an electrical fault, according to investigating gardai.
A forensic examination of the clubhouse at Dunmore East golf club was conducted yesterday.
Sergeant James Twomey from Waterford garda station said that, while "enquiries are ongoing" and arson could not be ruled out, gardai had "reports it may have been caused by an electrical fault".
The alarm was raised shortly before 4am yesterday by the club's owners, who live nearby.
Four units and two crews from Tramore and Dunmore East fire stations rushed to the scene.
Fire fighters worked until after 7am to completely quench the blaze. Inclement weather conditions, including strong gales, hampered their efforts.
The clubhouse overlooks the sea and was described as a "central part" of the Dunmore East community.
The President of the Dunmore East golf club Denis O'Shea said the club's owners hope to have it up and running again by March once the cause of the blaze is determined. He said the course was still open for business, despite the fire.
"For the members, it is really devastating. It burned rapidly and destroyed everything. The worst thing is that all the records have been destroyed," Mr O'Shea said.
"It's a big loss for everyone but I believe the owners intend to have it back up and running by March or some time around then."
Local Cllr Pat Fitzgerald said the loss of the club was "a big blow" for tourism, as it brings a lot of "people to the area".