Fire crews work to extinguish Mendeltna Creek Lodge fire
After being around for decades, the historic Mendeltna Creek Lodge went up in flames Sunday morning near Glennallen, according to multiple social media posts.
Alaska State Troopers spokesperson Tim Despain confirmed the fire happened around 8:51 a.m.
"MATCOM received a report from a passing motorist, that the Mendeltna Lodge, located at mile 154 of the Glenn Highway appeared to be on fire," Despain wrote in an email to KTVA. "AST and multiple volunteer fire departments from the area responded to the scene but were unable to save the structure."
Around 9 a.m., Glennallen resident, Kelly Allain, posted pictures and videos on Facebook in real time.
An hour later, Allain continued to post pictures saying, "Heartbreaking. Fire trucks on scene."
The hand-built lodge has been around since the late-'30s, according to its website. It's currently owned by Mabel and Russ Wimmer.
Sunday afternoon KTVA spoke with Mabel who was in Palmer for the Colony Christmas event that was going on over the weekend. Mabel said she was there to sing carols with the community chorus. Sunday morning, she said she woke up to a text from her neighbor who said the lodge was on fire.
"He said, 'Mabel, it's on fire'. And -- of course, I'm still in shock," she said. "And I didn't know we had a fire department, but the fire department came out. They had a little bit of difficulty because we've been having some outrageous snows... They did an amazing job, but it could not be saved."
Mable believes the lodge burned down to the ground within one to two hours. She said no one was inside the lodge. However, she said she lost her two dogs and a cat in the blaze.
Besides losing her pets, what she said devastates her most is losing another historical landmark.
"When we have these historical buildings like the Mendeltna Creek Lodge, you know, and the Sourdough and the Copper Center Lodge, and the Susitna Lodge, they're not just ours because we own them, they belong to all of Alaska. And they belong to the people who loved them, and made memories, and shared time there and changed their lives through the moments they were there.
Mabel said she is grateful for the outpouring support she has been given since she learned the news of lodge. Though she may have lost everything in the fire, she asks people to share their memories of the lodge instead of sending clothes and monetary donations.
"It's not just my loss, it's Alaska's loss," she said. "Please hold their memories dear to them because nobody understands Alaska unless they've spent time in a lodge. Especially our lodge."
Despain said the cause of the fire is under investigation.
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