In December 2011, the popular Norfolk Curling Club was destroyed by a fire. After months of fundraising and planning, the curling club celebrates the grand opening of their new facility this weekend.
Mary Fannette, president of the Norfolk curling club, remembers that early morning phone call. "It was so early in the morning," she said, "that I thought it was a wrong number. Then I heard on the answering machine that one of our members was calling, and said you better come down (to the club), because something had happened." She jumped in her car, and was shocked as her car crept over the hill on Golf Drive. "It was a smoldering mess of rubble, and bent steel, and sparks going off," Fanette said. "It was quite a dramatic scene, and a very sad scene."
The early morning fire destroyed the entire curling facility. Even the granite curling stones, which are used in curling games, were destroyed. "They are granite: the thought that they would break seemed inconceivable," Fanette said. "They got so hot during the fire that when the hoses doused them with water, they exploded."
The fire was set by two teens. Matthew Carey and Kyle Majewski said in court they were smoking synthetic marijuana before the arson. The two were eventually sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Mary Fanette said almost immediately after the fire, people in Norfolk began pitching in to help rebuild the curling club. After nearly two years of fundraising and planning, the winter sport of curling will return to Norfolk this weekend, as the Norfolk Curling Club opens its brand new facility.
Mary Fanette said it's a new chapter for the club. "The beginning of the chapter is sad," she said, "but it's also an opportunity for us to be a better club. Our mission is to teach the Olympic sport of curling. With so much focus on the club and what our mission is, we can build on this." The Norfolk Curling Club was established in 1956.