Tennis continues at Plantations center following fire

Damage estimated at $275,000 to main office, locker room, weight room
January 13, 2024

Story Location:
Dave Marshall Tennis & Fitness
18464 Plantations Boulevard
Lewes, DE 19958
United States

A Jan. 12 fire at the Plantations clubhouse caused $275,000 in damage to the building that houses the main office, locker room and weight room, but the tennis and pickleball courts are still playable.

“They played on Saturday. They actually played a pickleball tournament,” said Hal Dukes, who co-owns the facility with tennis pro Dave Marshall. “The building was still smoking, but the tournament went on. The courts were not affected.” 

Everything that has been scheduled for play on the courts is moving forward, he said, adding the pilates studio was also not affected by the fire.

Dukes said he spoke with Marshall, who is in Australia for the Australian Open, and they will definitely rebuild the burned structure. 

“I’ve talked to him a number of times and told him there’s nothing he can do now, so stay at the Australian Open and get a trophy,” Dukes said.

Dukes said they are making arrangements for temporary accommodations for the office, locker rooms and bathrooms that were displaced by the fire. As for when a new building will be complete, Dukes said he was not yet sure. 

“We have to build a whole new building, so it’s going to be a while. The building is a total loss,” he said.

Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal John Galaska said the fire originated on the interior of the structure; the cause remains under investigation at this time. The structure was not occupied when the fire started, Galaska said, and the structure was not protected by an automatic fire sprinkler system.

Dukes thanked the firefighters for their response to the 9 p.m. fire. Firefighters from Lewes, Rehoboth Beach, Milton, Georgetown, Bethany Beach, Indian River, Millsboro and Ellendale responded. Fire and smoke were coming from the building when firefighters arrived, said Galaska, and one firefighter was treated for heat exhaustion. There were no other reported injuries.

“The wind was so strong it pushed the flames back into the building and cooked everything,” Dukes said.

A newsletter sent to property owners in the development from property manager SeaScape said none of the Plantations condo buildings were involved in the fire.

“We are thankful to the local volunteer fire departments and fire police who fought the flames for several hours in miserable conditions,” read the notice.

Reporter Chris Flood contributed to this story. 





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