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MN State Fire Marshall issues details of previous fire inspection at the Historic Lutsen Lodge, which found seven violations, three still unresolved

Feb 08, 2024 08:26AM ● By Content Editor
Photo: Joe Friedrichs

By Laura Durenberger-Grunow - Boreal Community Media - February 8, 2024

On February 7, 2024, the State of Minnesota Fire Marshall released information regarding the last fire inspection that took place at the Historic Lutsen Lodge in July 2023. According to the release, "The last SFM inspection at the Lutsen Resort Lodge found seven violations, four of which the property owner repaired. It is too early in the investigation to determine if the three outstanding violations played a role in the fire."

February 9 Update: Officials give warning to stay away from Lutsen Resort property

The Historic Lutsen Resort, originally built in 1885, burnt to the ground on February 6, 2024. An employee noticed smoke coming from electrical outlets just before 12:30 am and called Cook County Dispatch. There were no guests at the time, and no one was injured. 

The report lists each of the seven violations, including the three that were still scheduled to be rechecked, including:
  • Provide annual inspection and testing of sprinkler systems in accordance with Chapter 5 of NFPA 25 (violation location: sprinkler system)
  • Provide periodic inspection and testing for all fire alarm systems and equipment, with all noted deficiencies corrected (violation location: fire alarm system)
  • Ensure that the means of egress illumination is equipped and maintained with an emergency power system capable of providing 30 minutes of illumination in the event of primary power loss (violation location: near room 122) 
Other violations issued but that were repaired include:
  • Replacing the existing smoke alarms that have failed to operate or are more than 10 years old in one room
  • Providing and maintaining proper clearances between ignition sources
  • Ensuring that exit signs are provided with an emergency power system capable of providing at least 30 minutes of illumination in the event of power failure throughout the building
  • Post a diagram depicting two evacuation routes on or immediately adjacent to every required egress door from each hotel or motel sleeping unit near one room

State Fire Marshall Daniel Frier stated "We are leading the investigation into the fire's cause and appreciate the partnership of the Lutsen Fire Department. As of yesterday afternoon, members of the Lutsen Fire Department were still managing hot spots using sprinklers at the location of the Lodge. Because of the severity of the fire, a timeframe for the investigation cannot be specified at this time, but investigators are looking for physical evidence at the scene. According to the release, "Specific details, including the daily investigative actions in this case, cannot be released per Minnesota Statute 13.82.

In addition to physical evidence they are looking for at the scene, investigators will also "Review paperwork, such as business and financial reports, and conduct a multitude of interviews."

According to the Associated Press in an article released the evening of February 7, 2024, "Bryce Campbell, owner of the Lutsen Lodge, told the Star Tribune in an email that he owes about $150,000 to several people who own cabins and condominiums nearby, fueling online speculation that he may have started the fire. Without prompting from the newspaper, he denied those rumors. “My heart is broken, and I feel like I’m grieving a person,” Campbell wrote to the newspaper. “You have no idea what it’s like to lose such a big piece of your life (that) my mom and I were building together. ... It makes my broken heart hurt even more to focus on such absurd accusations.”"

Related: Outpouring of community support and memories after fire destroys Historic Lutsen Lodge, owners intend to rebuild

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