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by Alecia Sirk
(Tuesday, July 7) The remains of a Clarksburg icon still smoldered at 8 a.m. today as firefighters from seven companies lost a battle to save the Clique Club on Old Bridgeport Hill in Clarksburg.
"We lost a little bit of history," said Mike Cottrell, a Stonewood firefighter who used to take out the reputed "best steaks in town" from the club.
Firefighters said a security guard from a neighboring car lot called in the fire about 4:30 a.m. today. Bridgeport was the first company to arrive.
Bill Stutler, recently retired Summit Park chief, ran the scene, and reported that the fire started in the back of the cinder block building near the kitchen. No one was injured in the fire.
Stutler said it was too early to determine the cause of the fire. Harrison County Emergency Services reported that the State Fire Marshal's Office had not been called to the scene.
By 7:30 a.m., Nutter Fort was the only company still dousing the building. Other companies responding included Anmoore, Spelter, Reynoldsville and Stonewood.
The Clique Club sign stood unharmed near a large chunk of wall that had been knocked out during the morning. That sign, and the reputation of the fine food available inside, have been a part of Clarksburg for almost 50 years.
"It would have been 50 years old in December," said one of the club's owners, Albert Lehosit, who was at the scene with several members of his family. "It opened on New Year's Eve 1948."
Lehosit's parents started the club. The Lehosits had six children, all of whom have contributed to running the business.
Maxine Lehosit, who worked in the club for nearly 40 years, watched with a heartbroken frown.
"It's a sad day," she said.