State Fire Marshal report shows multiple safety violations at Lutsen Lodge; too early to determine cause of fire

too early to determine cause of fire

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(KSTP) – Investigators continue to work on finding the cause of the fire that leveled the historic Lutsen Lodge after flames tore through the structure early Tuesday morning on the shores of Lake Superior.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety State Fire Marshal released details Wednesday on the most recent Lutsen Lodge inspection that happened last summer.

The inspection, which happened on July 6, 2023, reportedly found seven violations, four of which were repaired by the owner before the fire broke out.

Officials say it is too early in the investigation to determine if the three outstanding violations played a role in the fire.

The violations not repaired include an annual inspection and testing of the sprinkler system, periodic inspection and testing of the fire alarm system and egress illumination that is equipped and maintained with emergency power backup.

The repaired violations include exit signs connected to an emergency power source, replacement of smoke alarms, maintaining clearances between ignition sources and combustible materials and a posted diagram displaying evacuation routes.

State law requires hotels, motels and buildings used for lodging with six or more guest rooms for short-term rentals be inspected for fire safety once every three years.

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office says an employee reported seeing smoke coming from the floor in the lobby of the three-level building before they escaped unharmed.

No guests were staying in the lodge at the time of the fire, according to officials.

The flames destroyed the lodge, burning it down to the foundation with only the old chimney standing.

The resort complex has been in this North Shore community since the late 1880s — with the lodge that burned being built several decades later.

Kjersti Vick, with Visit Cook County, said the fire has left a painful mark on the community.

“It’s close to my heart as well. Everybody has some type of a story or connection, especially in this community, to Lutsen Resort,” Vick said. “It’s really impactful both emotionally and it’s a main economic driver of our community. It’s one of the larger resorts in the area”

The State Fire Marshal’s Office said the cause is still being investigated, adding that there is no timetable for how long the investigation could take because of the magnitude of the fire.

Meanwhile, the resort owner has talked about rebuilding the lodge.