ST. PAUL — Following a Feb. 6 fire that destroyed the Lutsen Resort Lodge, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety State Fire Marshal (SFM) division is releasing information regarding the property's most recent inspection. 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.
The last SFM inspection at the Lutsen Resort Lodge took place on July 6, 2023, and 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.
"This fire had a significant impact to the local economy and community," said State Fire Marshal Daniel Krier. "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."
The SFM cannot predict how long the investigation will take due to the magnitude of this fire. Investigators take this responsibility very seriously. Specific details, including the daily investigative actions in this case, cannot be released per Minnesota Statute 13.82.
"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."
SFM investigators are sifting through debris and ashes to review any physical evidence at the scene. They will also review paperwork, such as business and financial reports, and conduct a multitude of interviews.
"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."