Ontario Lodge Owners Suffer Major Loss
The owners of Shangri-La Lodge at Jones Falls, Ontario, watched helplessly Friday morning (May 13) as their home, which also doubles as the main dining area, bar and kitchen for the business, burned in a relentless fire, the Kingston Whig-Standard reported.
For Don and Tara Blair, it was the day before the opening of the new tourism season.
The couple were in Kingston shopping for supplies when they received the bad news by telephone.
“You can’t do anything,” said Tara Blair’s mother Cathy Monck, noting the unlucky date of Friday the 13th. “Your whole life’s in there – your kids’ photos and everything.”
A large crew and at least eight trucks from Rideau Lakes Township Fire and Rescue responded to the call that came in about 9 a.m.
Pumping water directly from Sand Lake, firefighters spent hours pouring water through doors, windows and holes in the roof.
Each time it looked as though the fire might be under control a blaze would flare up through another part of the roofline.
Smoke from the fire was first spotted by a Parks Canada boat crew doing work at the nearby Jones Falls Locks.
They called 911 to get firefighters and ambulance crews to the scene, located on the northeast side of Sand Lake which is part of the Rideau Canal system.
Monck said that once she determined that the couple’s three boys were safely at school, she became worried about the family dog, Ben.
She arrived at the scene, however, to find the golden retriever walking around the resort grounds, oblivious to the unfolding disaster.
Monck said her daughter and son-in-law bought the property about 14 years ago and had steadily rebuilt it into a thriving business.
“It’s their livelihood,” she said. “They’ve worked so hard.”