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Fire guts Pine Falls Lodge

The Dunham family watched helpless as their lodge and home burned to the ground Tuesday night. The Dunhams own Pine Falls Lodge, a popular destination for hunters and fishers in the summer, and snowmobilers in the winter.
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A fire on the Pine Falls Lodge property, 20 kilometres north of Markstay, Tuesday night, destroyed two buildings, including the main lodge. Supplied photo.

The Dunham family watched helpless as their lodge and home burned to the ground Tuesday night.

The Dunhams own Pine Falls Lodge, a popular destination for hunters and fishers in the summer, and snowmobilers in the winter. It is located around 20 kilometres north of Markstay.

The main lodge was built in 1947 by professional wrestler Frankie Hart, who was also known as the “Flying Dutchman.”

The night of March 3, Fred Duham, the family patriarch, noticed thick smoke after he finished watching a movie with his son in one of the property's eight cabins.

When they went outside, they saw the smoke was coming from the property's main lodge, which included a reception area, a basement bar, and the family home upstairs.

“We kicked in the furnace room door, and the fire came out of there like nothing I've ever seen,” Dunham said.

He and his son Kaynan tried to shovel snow on the building's walls in a futile effort to stop the fire. They suffered minor burns in the process.

The fire became so strong it spread to the nearest cabin, which happened to be the largest on the property.

Both buildings burned to the ground. 

 

The Ontario Provincial Police responded to the blaze at 10: 55 p.m.

Only the main cabin's stone fireplace, and two totem polls Dunham carved at the entrance, survived the blaze.

“Even the roof went down, and those stupid things are still standing,” he said.

Friends of the family have started an online fundraising campaign to provide basic toiletries, clothing, and school supplies for Kaynan, who is 15.

Dunham said since the fire, they've been staying at an employee's home, but it's just a temporary solution.

“We don't know where we're staying come Monday,” he said.

As for future plans, he said they need to wait and see what they'll be able to get from their insurance company.

“I don't really know what the future is right now,” Dunham said.



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