Fire Destroys Timberbay Main Lodge

By KBJR News 1

April 14, 2011 Updated Apr 14, 2011 at 6:08 PM CDT

Babbitt, MN (Northland's Newscenter) -The call came in just after 5:30 this morning.

It was a rude awakening Thursday morning for lodge owner Ron Rykken.

"Just a hold in my stomach...I wasn't sure what to expect," said Rykken.

Once on the scene Rykken discovered the main lodge at Timberbay Lodge and Houseboats engulfed in flames.

Not only did the building serve as the main lodge, but Rykken and his family lived there during the summer months.

They were set to move in this coming weekend.

"It's been around since 1949, it's been one of the cornerstones of this resort for years. A lot of great memories from it; it's really a shame to have lost it," said Rykken.

The age and style of the building presented obstacles for firefighters.

"It's a lot of varnish and heavy timber. It holds a lot of heat and it takes quite a while and a lot of water to extinguish," said Babbitt Fire Chief Ryan Sharber.

Chief Sharber says they were able to extinguish the blaze quickly with the help of several surrounding fire departments.

"We have a really good relationship with all the other surrounding departments and we called for them right away; soon as I rolled out of bed this morning that's the first thing I did," said Sharber.

As for the upcoming tourist season that starts in less than a month, Rykken is optimistic.

"We'll be ready to go. We'll have a little better view from where the office is," said Rykken.

Due to the extent of the damage... there is no word yet on the cause.