Water park rebuilds after fire
Posted April 23, 2009 5:59 p.m. EDT
Updated April 23, 2009 7:31 p.m. EDT
Hope Mills, N.C. — Not even an arsonist could spoil the fun for Cumberland County families seeking a cool respite from the summer heat.
A Dec. 18 fire destroyed the 10,000-square-foot clubhouse at Fantasy Lake Water Park, 5869 Permastone Lake Road. Investigators said a truck parked near the end of the building where various chemicals were stored had been set ablaze, and the fire quickly engulfed the clubhouse.
That building was the operations center at Fantasy Lake. It had a restaurant, an arcade, a pool room, lockers and gift shop.
Many in the community feared their summertime hot spot would be history, as the owners had no insurance. But thanks to a little help from friends and a lot of help from the owners' families, Fantasy Lake will soon be back in business.
"You can't look back. You don't quit. You just keep looking forward," said Marjorie Turner, who bought the water park four years ago with her husband, James.
Workers have hung the rope swings and waxed the slides, and they plan to open the floodgates Friday to let the water start pouring into the lake for the summer season.
Turner said it takes about two weeks for the water to fill enough for swimming. By then, she said she hopes to have the new building completed.
"Every day, there's something new to get excited about," she said, noting that Fantasy Lake will open May 16 regardless of whether work on the clubhouse is finished.
Authorities have few leads in the arson investigation, but Turner said she's learned some lessons from the experience to protect the water park.
"We have insurance on everything. We have double insurance on some things," she said, adding that she is installing security cameras to keep a closer eye on the water park around the clock.