Firefighters still working to put out fire at Quaaout Lodge; Kukpi7 says community will rebuild

'We can get through this'

UPDATE: 8:05 p.m.

In an update posted to Facebook Sunday night, The Quaaout Lodge says they will be closed until further notice.

"Kukstsémc (thank you) to everyone for the outpour of support and help today with the fire. A special thank you to the first responders, and staff on site. We are very fortunate to be a part of such an amazing community. Our Lodge and Golf Course will be closed until further notice, and we will be providing more updates through our social media in the coming days," the post said.

Kukpi7 James Tomma will be providing an official statement on Monday, May 23rd.

UPDATE: 3:02 p.m.

Firefighters are still working to control a fire that started in Quaaout Lodge Sunday morning, according to Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band Kukpi7 James Tomma.

Tomma told Castanet Kamloops firefighters from Skwlax Volunteer Fire Department and Chase Fire Rescue were called to the resort, which appears to have suffered heavy damage as a result of the blaze.

Tomma said the Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band will have more information in the coming days regarding the incident, but he said the community intends to rebuild.

“We did have an emergency meeting with our lodge employees and management. There's nothing that we can do about the fact that a major part of our lodge is gone. But as a community and everything, we're going to work through this, we're going to rebuild,” Tomma said.

He said the Quaaout Lodge was an “integral part” of the First Nations community and outlying communities.

“We're one of the largest employers in the area, so we’re not going to walk away. We can get through this,” Tomma said.

According to guests staying at the lodge, the fire started between 8:00 and 8:30 a.m., with everyone evacuated from the building. Videos and photos shared to social media show flames and a thick column of dark smoke rising from the building.

There is no official word yet on the cause of the fire.

Tomma said lodge staff have accounted for all guests and there have been no injuries as a result of the fire.

"At one time, there was a worry that there might have been two dogs left in there, but when they opened the door to go in, the puppies ran out. So we didn't even lose the puppies,” Tomma said.

Tomma said there were historic and cultural artifacts in the lodge, but to his knowledge they haven’t been destroyed.

The Grand Chief of the Union of B.C. Indian Chefs has expressed sadness over the fire.

In a social media post, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip said he loved the Quaaout Lodge, described on its website as the pride of the Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band.

“Great food! Indigenous menu! Many good memories. Totally sad day! Our hearts go out to the Adam’s Lake and the Secwepemc People,” the post said.

Frank Caputo, Conservative Member of Parliament for Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo, also expressed his sympathy on Twitter.

“This brings tears to my eyes,” Caputo said.

“Quaaout Lodge is such a beautiful place with amazing staff. I was there a few weeks ago. I hope everyone is safe.”

Members of the South Shuswap Chamber of Commerce took to Facebook on Sunday and said they are keeping the band in their thoughts.

“Our hearts go out to our friends at Quaaout Lodge and Talking Rock Golf and the Little Shuswap Indian Band for the devastating fire this morning,” the chamber of commerce said.

“Our thoughts are with you all.”

ORIGINAL: 10:13 a.m.

Emergency crews are tackling what appears to be a large fire at Quaaout Lodge and Spa, a resort located on Little Shuswap Lake near Chase.

Dan Thiessen, who said he was a guest at the lodge staying on the third floor, told Castanet News the fire started between 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. Sunday morning.

Thiessen said to his knowledge, everyone evacuated the building safely.

Videos and photos shared on social media show flames and a plume of dark grey smoke rising from the roof of the lodge.

Thiessen said as of about 10 a.m. Sunday, the front right half of the building is destroyed but firefighters appear to have the blaze under control.

Castanet has reached out to Chase Fire Rescue for more information.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

More Kamloops News