ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska lodge built more than 80 years ago near Glennallen burned to the ground.
A passing motorist spotted flames coming from the Mendeltna Creek Lodge on Sunday morning, KTUU-TV reported .
Alaska State Troopers spokesman Tim DeSpain said multiple volunteer fire departments responded, but were unable to save the structure.
The lodge’s owners, Mabel and Russ Wimmer, were both fine but their pets died in the fire.
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Mabel Wimmer said Alaska roadhouses such as the Mendeltna Creek Lodge are a major part of the state’s history.
“It belongs to everybody, it’s my home and my business but it belongs to everybody,” she said.
Rowdy Allain, the fire chief for Nelchina and Mendeltna, said the fire appeared to start in the living quarters, in the rear of the building. But the cause of the fire has yet to be determined, Allain said.
The state fire marshal will investigate.
Frank Adkins said his parents bought the lodge in the 1970s. His family traveled between the lodge and their home in Miami, Florida, for years before fully renovating the lodge and moving into it full-time when he turned 8.
“It’s sad to see, it’s one of the last great Alaskan roadhouses and now it’s gone,” Adkins said. “My dad built a lot of the lodge, the addition on the lodge by hand.”
Adkins said the lodge was a vital resource in a “desolate area” throughout the 1970s.
He said people would stop there for food, fuel and lodging and would gather for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner.
Information from: KTUU-TV, http://www.ktuu.com