Large fire reported at Quaaout Lodge and Spa in Chase, BC

A large fire at Quaaout Lodge and Spa, an Indigenous-owned resort in Chase, B.C., caused extensive damage to the building’s guest wing, officials said.

Quaaout Lodge is operated by the Little Shuswap Lake Band, part of the Secwépemc Nation. According to the station’s website, it was originally conceived by the band in 1979 and premiered in 1991.

RCMP say emergency responders received a call about a structural fire at the clubhouse just after 8:30 a.m. Pacific time on Sunday. The lodge is located approximately 70 kilometers east of Kamloops, British Columbia in the central interior.

More than 20 firefighters responded to the blaze. Chase Fire Chief Brian Lauzon told CBC News he believes the fire started in the hotel’s attic and spread to the roof. No injuries were reported. The cause is not yet known.

A firefighter tries to put out the flames during a fire at the Quaaout Lodge and Spa in Chase, British Columbia, May 22, 2022. (Submitted by Dan Thiessen)

“Flames were coming from the ceiling. The third floor was, it seems, destroyed or at least half is destroyed,” said guest Dan Thiessen, who was having breakfast in his room when the fire alarms went off. are triggered after 8 a.m.

“I heard the fire alarm and it kept going. So I thought, ‘Okay, something serious,'” Thiessen said. “I got dressed and walked out. That’s when we looked back and the flames started shooting out of the upper air vents and we knew it was serious.”

Thiessen, of Kelowna, B.C., spoke from the parking lot outside the lodge where other evacuees had gathered. He said some guests were playing golf at the time of the incident and were unaware of the fire.

Toronto resident Joel Levy, another guest at the lodge, was at Chase writing a travel article about the area. He said a firewall on one side of the pavilion prevented the fire from spreading to the lobby and other areas of the complex, which Lauzon confirms.

Levy was having breakfast at the hotel restaurant when he heard fire alarms going off. He said he managed to get out, but without much of his belongings.

Some guests were unprepared and left in their bathrobes, he said. He said one guest even lost his wedding ring worth several thousand dollars.

“For most guests…it will mostly be about things that can be replaced,” he told CBC News. “But in such a tight-knit community, this lodge offers so many jobs.

“That’s the biggest long-term effect. It’s hard to imagine any immediate solutions to this problem.”

Many guests weren’t ready to leave when the fire alarms went off after 8am, according to hotel guest Joel Levy. (Joel Levy)

According to Thiessen, the fire started to spread very quickly because the guest wing of the lodge is a wooden structure.

“My heart goes out to the Indigenous First Nations people and all that this building means to them,” he said.

Guests were not allowed to return to the hotel, Thiessen said, with officials saying all property at the lodge was damaged by fire, smoke or water.

According to Kúkpi7 James Tomma, leader of the Little Shuswap Lake Band, the resort’s conference center and restaurant appear to have avoided most of the fire damage.

Tomma said more details about the fire were expected on Monday.

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