Fire destroys W.Va. exotic dance club

April 21, 1997


Staff Writer, Martinsburg

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - An early morning fire Monday spread through an exotic dance club and bar located off W.Va. 9 just east of Martinsburg, according to fire officials.

Fire officials estimated the damages to Club Lakewood and the Legz exotic dance club to be between $300,000 and $400,000.

"There was a lot of fire involved," said Capt. Mike Hough of the Baker Heights Volunteer Fire Department. "It was one of the tougher ones."

Hough said it is unclear what started the fire, which took about an 90 minutes to bring under control. Investigators with the state Fire Marshal's office and the federal bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were searching through the burned rubble of the building Monday evening trying to unearth clues about the cause of the blaze.


Curious onlookers drove up and down Mount Olive Road where the bar is located as officials sifted through the debris.

Club Lakewood is a longtime landmark, but the Legz dance club had only been open for a little more than a month, said employees. Dancers said it was a classy club because they wore evening gowns on stage.

Some of the dancers lost extensive wardrobes worth up to $1,800 each in the fire, said Pamela Erickson, who worked with her husband Troy Erickson to start the business.

"It was the biggest and the nicest of the clubs in the area," said Erickson.

Firefighters got the call on the fire about 5:44 a.m., said Hough. Hough said when he arrived at the scene, there was heavy fire in the rear of the business where the exotic dance club was located. The front of the business consisted of a large brick home.

There were no injuries in the fire. A bartender lived upstairs in the brick house, but he was able to escape safely, workers said.

The exotic dance bar was open Sunday night, and dancers said the bar became busy around 1 a.m. The dancers left work about 3:44 a.m., employees said.

About 30 firefighters responded to the blaze.

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