Flash Back Fridays

THE FIRE: 1973

A story by David Boulding

The Lodge burned down May 23rd, 1973. The fire started after lunch and the building was completely finished by 3 pm. There were few people on property and nothing could be done except save some stuff and prevent other buildings from burning.

Jim, Myrna, and the kids: Jamie, Elizabeth, and Annie were in town. Jim and Myrna raced back to find all they owned burned to the ground. Tears were the common reaction. Jim Boulding’s suspicion that students smoking in the attic room near the crawl space started the fire had a rational basis because the only other possible reason for the fire was faulty wiring and there was no wiring close to the scene. Jim Denis, a contractor from town, was completing some renovations to the kitchen and north wing of the Lodge. I remember there being fewer than 10 people here on the property, although many people driving by stopped and helped.

And some helped themselves to some of the valuables: native baskets and carvings and even an old wagon wheel we saved from the fire.

The chimney after the fire of 1973

The chimney after the fire of 1973

The fire was so hot the Chevron gas station sign, a plastic four foot square sign, melted and buckled high atop a 30 foot steel pole about 50 feet from the building.

I remember Jade Chua from the kitchen being the hero. She was a UBC student from Hong Kong, working to pay for her university expenses. She was about five foot nothing, square-shouldered, and a solid muscular young 20 some- thing woman. Her heroism was visible twice. Some days earlier Jim Denis had taken out the big Garland cooking stove to clean it and make some changes to the gas fittings as the stove was being located farther north in the kitchen. It took four men to move the stove back into the kitchen, and the doorway trim had to be removed, as the stove was wider than the opening. Read more