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Official says cause of Woman's Club fire may remain unknown

May 25, 2011|By Michael Miller, michael.miller@latimes.com

The cause of the fire that burned most of the Woman's Club of Huntington Beach's headquarters may remain unknown, Deputy Fire Marshal Jeff Lopez said.

The age of the building, which dated to 1910 and served as the club's meeting place since 1916, may prevent investigators from determining what started the April 30 fire that gutted the building and damaged the houses on either side.

The Huntington Beach Fire Department, though, has already declared the fire accidental and not the result of arson.

"I expect, in all likelihood, the fire will remain undetermined as to the exact cause," Lopez said.

Club Treasurer Rosemary Trout said an insurance company is still examining the remains of the clubhouse at 420 10th St.

Ultimately she and most of the club members hope to build a new clubhouse, she said.

City officials have said the club can build a new facility on the grounds, although modern building codes would prevent it being a replica of the original.

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In the meantime, Trout and Vice President Elaine Craft said, the club is seeking temporary locations for its June meeting. The club takes the summer off every year and will resume meetings in September.

"We still want to keep on keeping on," Craft said. "That's just where we are. We're kind of in limbo until all these things get nailed down."

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