The Chase Fire Department was called to assist the group. Fire Chief Brian Lauzon’s team scrambled to protect the conference side of the pavilion, which saw fire break out in the afternoon.
“When we arrived we were trying to contain the fire. It had already broken through the roof and the walls. Most of it had already collapsed when we arrived at the scene. Probably around 2 or 3 p.m. when the fire broke out on the other fire wall and the other side of the building collapsed,” Lauzon said.
The group uses the lodge to display some of their culturally significant artifacts to the public. Fortunately, the artifacts could be saved.
“I would like to thank people for their concern about the cultural and heritage artifacts that we had in there. Let everyone know they’re safe, they haven’t been hit. We lost the pieces, but the place where they were on display is still intact,” Tomma confirmed.
Tomma understands that many in the community may be nervous about losing the lodge, as it employs many locals and also brings in tourism dollars.
“The impact that this particular thing has had on our community – devastating, not just to my band members, but to the community as a whole and the spending communities, because we employ a lot of people and attract tourism,” said Tomma said.
The investigation into the cause of the fire is currently ongoing and Fire Chief Lauzon expects the investigation team to be on site for several days to complete their work.