Updated at 3:40 p.m.
An email to Sudbury.com from Deirdre Rowland of CME Publicity, Killarney Mountain Lodge's public relations firm, has stated that damage estimates from last night's fire are in the range of $3 million to $4 million.
Updated at 2:08 p.m.: The early morning blaze that destroyed one building at Killarney Mountain Lodge Resort will not affect upcoming bookings at the property, the lodge said through its public relations firm this afternoon.
The fire was discovered at around 3 a.m. by a staff member and the fire department was notified and arrived promptly, but the building, known as the Covered Portage, was destroyed by the flames, the resort said through the firm C Me Communications. There were no injuries reported.
Buildings in close proximity of the blaze were not affected and management is assuring future guests that the resort is open for business. In the news release, the general manager, Kelly McAree, said an OPP investigation team is currently interviewing all staff and contractors on the site.
“We are working with investigators and at the same time we want to assure our guests that despite the loss of those rooms, business is still operating at full capacity,” McAree is quoted as saying. “We will be contacting each individual who has been booked into the Covered Portage to discuss their options, as we hope they can still enjoy a vacation experience at Killarney Mountain Lodge.”
The lodge is undergoing an $18-million expansion and the new building, consisting of 16 rooms, was about to open for guest bookings on June 23.
The general manager of Killarney Mountain Lodge said the historic resort isn’t closed and will continue to operate — in fact guests were seated for breakfast this morning — and honour reservations, despite this morning’s devastating fire.
Kelly McAree told Sudbury.com the building was discovered to be “fully engulfed” in flames at around 3 a.m. this morning. He added that he, the staff and resort owner Holden Rhodes are devastated by the fire, but they won’t let the blaze dampen the experience of guests and will continue to provide visitors with “a good Killarney experience.”
“(Despite the fire), we are in good shape,” McAree said. “We can continue to operate with the 34 rooms we have and we’re still taking reservations.”
The 16-room structure that burned this morning was a new addition to the recently renovated lodge that was due to open on June 23. In fact, crews were hard at work on the building just yesterday as it was being readied to accept guests.
The approximate value of the burned structure is $1 million, McAree said.
“We are completely in shock,” he said. “We can’t even fathom why this would happen.”
McAree also said Rhodes, the owner of Killarney Mountain Lodge, is particularly upset by the tragic turn of events.
“This is his pride and joy. He’s heavily invested — both emotionally and financially — in the property,” he said.
McAree also said he finds the fire “highly unusual” and will be reviewing security footage from last night.
Killarney Fire Chief Gary Chappel told Sudbury.com earlier today that the 12 firefighters in Killarney worked hard to contain the fire to the property and are continuing to mop up hotspots today.
Chappel also said he will be calling in the Ontario Fire Marshall to investigate the cause of the fire.
The Killarney Mountain Lodge s Built in the 1940s by an American company, but for 53 years (up until 2015) was owned by Annabelle and Maury East, who raised their family in the small hamlet, located about an hour south of Sudbury.
One of Killarney’s major employers (with a staff of around 50), Killarney Mountain Lodge was purchased in January 2015 by Holden and Carey Rhodes of London, Ont., who told Sudbury.com they sunk about $18 million into renovating the resort.
In late March, Rhodes added to his Killarney holdings when he announced his purchase of the Sportsman’s Inn Resort & Marina.
Rhodes, who has close family ties and vacationed in Killarney growing up, said he bought the landmark Sportsman’s Inn to continue to build on his wish to make a difference in the local community.
“My long-term vision is to attract more investment and people. This is not only a business investment, but also an opportunity to benefit Killarney into the future and continue to support renewed economic vitality for current and new residents.
The Manitoulin Expositor reported changes to the lodge included a new logo, renovations and updates to the iconic carousel bar and the Pilot House, new electrical and plumbing throughout the lodge, a new marina (including docks), the rebuilding of the boathouse, new computer systems, new bedding for all of the rooms, outdoor kitchen and all new management staff.