Watch CBS News

Lochearn Community Club Swimming Pool Burns Down On Open Day

GWYNN OAK, Md. (WJZ) -- A devastating fire burned to the ground Lochearn Community Club Swimming Pool on what was supposed to be the Opening Day for its 62nd season.

Brian Pinkney has been a volunteer swim coach at the facility for 21 years. Over the last few weeks, he's been working with members to get the swim club ready for Opening Day.

"I still have some marks on my thumb from raking weeks prior," he said.

But those efforts have since been halted as investigators try to determine what caused the fire. Flames tore through the main office - built in the 1950's - which housed the locker rooms and all of the pool equipment.

It also destroyed mementos, awards and memorabilia from over the years.

Pinkney said the silver lining, though, has been the incredible response from the community.

"Tributes and the testimony that they've put on our Facebook page and GoFundMe page. It brings tears to your eyes," he said.

Lochearn Community Club opened in 1958 and was one of the first private pool clubs in Maryland to integrate in the 1970s.

Pinkney said ever since, the swim club has been committed to inclusion and diversity.

"Our swim team is so diverse that when we go to meets you will not see another swim team like ours, everyone uses the word diverse, but ours is completely diverse," he said.

An alumni of the swim team set up an online fundraiser which has already reached more than $18,000.

"That's the kind of spirit that we have here and it's going to endure," Pinkney said.

Pinkney also said that he doesn't know when they'll be able to reopen. It could be in August, or it could be that they have to skip the entire summer and come back next year.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.