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Lutsen Lodge fire under investigation, sheriff asks public to stay out of area

Investigators sifting through wreckage of Lutsen Lodge fire
Investigators sifting through wreckage of Lutsen Lodge fire 02:32

LUTSEN, Minn. — Officials are asking the public to stay away from the Lutsen Resort Lodge after a fire destroyed the historic building on Tuesday.

Though the Cook County Sheriff's Office called it an official crime scene on Friday afternoon, they clarified their claim soon after, saying that it's still too early to determine if the fire was started accidentally or intentionally. Still, they're asking people to stay clear in order to preserve the integrity of the scene.

The fire was initially reported shortly after midnight on Tuesday. Staff reported smoke coming from the floor in the lobby area, and the building was eventually completely engulfed in flames. No one was injured.

The Minnesota State Fire Marshall is leading the investigation. On Wednesday, they released information detailing the property's most recent inspection. 

In July of 2023, the Fire Marshall found seven violations, four of which were repaired. As required by state law, hotels are inspected for fire safety once every three years. At the time they released the inspection information, the fire marshall said it was too early to determine if the outstanding violations played a role in the fire.

Edward Vanegas

MORE: Minnesotans feeling the loss of historic Lutsen Lodge: "It's part of our history"

The resort's history goes back 139 years, when the plot of land was purchased by Charles Nelson, a Swedish immigrant. The Lutsen Lodge was built in 1949, but burned down two years later. The version of the lodge that burned down earlier in the week was a replica, which was built in 1952. 

The lodge is the oldest operating resort in the state, and is a landmark for many Minnesotans, known as a popular spot for weddings and honeymoons. 

Note: The above video first aired on Feb. 7, 2024

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