Structure fire destroys historic Lutsen Resort along Lake Superior
Kate Batten

Structure fire destroys historic Lutsen Resort along Lake Superior

Updated at 1:31 p.m.

The historic Lutsen Resort main lodge is destroyed following a structure fire in the early morning of Feb. 6.

At approximately 12:24 a.m., the Cook County Sheriff’s Office was notified of a fire alarm at Lutsen Resort. Staff from Lutsen Resort reported smoke coming from the floor in the lobby area.

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office said the building was completely engulfed. There were no guests on-site, and no injuries were reported.

WTIP’s Kirsten Wisniewski was on-site at Lutsen Resort this morning and spoke with Lutsen Fire Chief Steve Duclos. 

Duclos said the cause of the fire is undetermined at this time, and the State Fire Marshall will investigate the incident. As of 9:30 a.m., the Fire Marshalls have arrived and are assessing the scene.

“It got fully engulfed pretty fast,” Duclos said. “It’s old, you know, the history of Lutsen Resort, so much like we all feared it was a big tinderbox.”

Duclos said the Lutsen Fire Department arrived on the scene immediately after the fire alarm call at 12:30 a.m.

After containing the fire at approximately 8 a.m., Duclos began releasing fellow responding fire department crews. The responding units were the Lutsen Fire Department, Tofte Fire Department, Tofte First Responders, Grand Marais Fire Department, Maple Hill Fire Department, Gunflint Fire Department, Finland Fire Department, Silver Bay Fire Department, Grand Portage Fire Department, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office.

Since Lutsen Resort’s establishment in the mid-1880s by Charles Axel (C.A.A.) Nelson Lutsen Resort has passed through several hands of ownership. The most recent steward to assume control of the iconic resort is Bryce Campbell in 2018.

In a Sept. 2023 interview with WTIP, Campbell and Resort Manager Edward Vanegas said they were conducting renovations to expand the main lodge by creating new spaces on the third floor and adding wings or additions to the main building.

The Lutsen Resort lodge building has experienced fires in the past. Fires destroyed the building in 1949, 1951, and now in 2024.

In a Facebook post, Lutsen Resort said, “The amazing memories made here are in our hearts as we begin the heavy weighted process to rebuilt back better.”

WTIP spoke with Visit Cook County Executive Director Linda Jurek following the Lutsen Resort news on Feb. 6.

“This is quite a blow,” Jurek said. “Bryce Campbell, owner has put in a tremendous amount of effort and investment in Lutsen lodge and the new branding for that. So hearts go out to them this morning.”

“Positive thoughts for our friends at Lutsen Lodge,” Jurek said.

After firefighters battled the fire into the early morning hours, Cascade Lodge delivered meals and two gallons of coffee to the firefighting crews.

After firefighters and first responders returned home, the EMS Director at North Shore Health, Karla Pankow, said in a post, “Thankful for our fellow fire groups, near and far, who have been battling the Lutsen Resort fire since midnight. We’re here for you.”

WTIP’s Kirsten Wisniewski was on-site at the Lutsen Resort fire this morning. Photos from the scene are below.

Audio from WTIP’s Kirsten Wisniewski’s live interview on North Shore Morning is below. The audio from Wisniewski’s interview with Fire Chief Steve Duclos is below.

Check back for updates.