State Fire Marshal releases details of most recent inspection, cause of Lutsen Resort fire still under investigation
Kate Batten

State Fire Marshal releases details of most recent inspection, cause of Lutsen Resort fire still under investigation

The State Fire Marshal released information about Lutsen Resort’s most recent inspection earlier this afternoon.  

The cause of the Lutsen Resort fire is still under investigation. Investigators are currently sifting through the debris and ashes to review any physical evidence at the scene. Investigators will also review business and financial reports and conduct multiple interviews during the process.

In the released inspection details, the State Fire Marshal said the latest inspection occurred on July 6, 2023.

The inspection resulted in seven violations, four of which the property owner repaired. The property owner had seven days to correct the remaining three violations. 

According to the fire inspection report, the three remaining violations that were scheduled to be rechecked included:

  • Provide annual inspection and testing of sprinkler systems in accordance with Chapter 5 of NFPA 25. 
  • Provide periodic inspection and testing for all fire alarm systems and equipment, with all noted deficiencies corrected. Maintain documentation of inspection and testing for three years. 
  • 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. 

State investigators say it is still too early in the investigation to determine if the three outstanding violations played a role in the fire.

The State Fire Marshal investigators cannot predict how long the investigation will take due to the magnitude of the Lutsen Resort fire. “Investigators take this responsibility very seriously,” the news release said. 

Specific details, including the daily investigative actions in this case, cannot be released per Minnesota Statute 13.82. 

By state statute, hotels, motels, and buildings used for lodging with six or more guest rooms for short-term rentals are inspected for fire safety once every three years.

“This fire had a significant impact to the local economy and community,” State Fire Marshal Daniel Krier said in the Feb. 7 news release. “We are leading the investigation into the fire’s cause and appreciate the partnership of the Lutsen Fire Department.”

Fourteen of the 15 volunteer firefighters at the department responded to the early morning fire call at the historic lodge. Some of those same firefighters will be suppressing hot spots at the property using sprinklers throughout the day on Feb. 7.

“There was great potential for a loss of life with this fire,” said Lutsen Fire Chief Steve Duclos. “We are thankful that wasn’t the case.”

“No two fires are alike, which means each investigation is also unique,” said Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Amanda Swenson. “Our investigators are highly trained to determine the origins and causes of fires across Minnesota.”

“We understand the public wants answers,” said State Fire Marshal Chief Investigator Jim Iammatteo. “However, it would be irresponsible to offer any insights until the conclusion of this investigation.”

Find Lusten Resort’s July 6, 2023 fire inspection report here.