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The base of operations may have been a picnic table and the smell of scorched wood hung in the air, but the Kissena Park Golf Course was open for business one day after a suspicious fire destroyed its fleet of golf carts last week.
“It’s terrible that someone would do something like that, I don’t understand it,” said Paul Browning, who was walking in to play a round Friday afternoon. “But it’ll take a lot more than a little fire to keep me off the greens. Besides a little walking won’t hurt me.”
At around 1:20 a.m. last Thursday, a massive blaze broke out at the city-run facility on Booth Memorial Avenue near 164th Street, severely damaging the clubhouse and destroying 38 of 60 brand-new golf carts — valued at about $4,000 each. Authorities were investigating the blaze as arson and were looking over surveillance footage, but no arrests had been made as of Tuesday.
But as the sun began to peek out after some morning showers Friday, golfers flooded the Flushing public links and were greeted by more than 30 new carts received that morning.
“We’re open and operating as usual,” said one employee, who declined to be named. “We’ve got a lot of golfers out there today. It’s like nothing ever happened except for the smell.”
Golfers arranged tee times at a picnic table set up outside of the boarded-up clubhouse and some who had not known about the fire were shocked as they arrived.
“I had no idea. It’s terrible. Who would do something like thati” said Tom Rivaldi, a Fresh Meadows resident. “Some people in this world, you just never know. These guys here do a great job, though. I can’t believe they’re up and running already because it looks pretty bad back there.”
Behind the clubhouse, a sea of twisted metal and melted plastic coated the ground. Fire officials said the investigation was ongoing.
“They better catch those guys, Rivaldi said. “You shouldn’t get away with something like that.”
Police said a dead Asian man in his 20s was found hanging from a tree in nearby Kissena Park several hours after the fire, but they did not believe the two incidents were related.
Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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