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Fire Heavily Damages Iconic Pavilion, Restaurant On Bde Maka Ska

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) --The future of an iconic Minneapolis landmark is up in the air after a devastating fire. The pavilion that houses the restaurant Lola On The Lake next to Bde Maka Ska was heavily damaged Thursday morning.

The Minneapolis Fire Department says the fire started around 4 a.m.

"I just heard this crack like this loud lightning crack," said Sophia Ronning.

Ronning lives across the street from Bde Maka Ska. She was asleep early this morning but lightning woke her just before 4 am.

"I started smelling smoke and then I heard the sirens," explained Ronning.

The sirens came from firefighters rushing to Lola On the Lake.

It took crews less than a half hour to put the flames out, but the damage was done.

People came to see what the fire did to the popular lakeside eatery Thursday.

The chain of lakes is the second most visited landmark in the Minneapolis Park system and now the roof and interior of the pavilion are destroyed.

"We had fire coming all the way around and through the roof from the beginning," said Deputy Chief Don Leedham. "It's a metal roof so it will burn through pretty quickly."

The pavilion opened in 1930.

Long before Lola On The Lake existed, the restaurant was known as Tin Fish for more than a decade.

"Every customer who came here was family. I feel bad being here right now because it's not ours but you're looking at your house," said Athena Priest, co-owner of Tin Fish.

The current owner of the restaurant said the fire alarms did not go off.

Now, he's worried about the employees.

"They put themselves on the line. This is how they sustain themselves and that is gone for now," said Louis King, owner of Lola On The Lake.

WCCO's radar shows that there was cloud-to-ground lightning detected around the time the fire broke out, but firefighters aren't ruling out anything.

Lola On The Lake just opened for the summer season earlier this month.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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