Owner of Becker County’s Maplelag Resort plans to rebuild after fire damages main lodge

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The owner of a ski resort in northwestern Minnesota says there is no question about it: They will rebuild after a fire burned down most of their main lodge Monday.

This also isn’t the first fire at Maplelag Resort, which is located near Callaway in Becker County. Previously, a fire damaged the resort in 1999.

Video from fellow ABC affiliate WDAY shows at least 10 different area fire departments sent crews or trucks to help battle the large fire at the main building.

The hope is at least some structures can be saved.

Owner Jim Richards says he was catching up on emails Monday morning and getting ready for the upcoming ski season when he heard a loud sound.

Although crews haven’t released an official cause of the fire, Richards believes it started in the laundry room.

The incident has the small community rallying behind the resort’s owner.

“I know the family – they put in a ton of work every year. To see this go down like this, it’s very sad. I feel bad for them and everybody who works for them,” said Becker County Sheriff Todd Glander.

Richards has spent the better part of the last 22 years rebuilding after a fire started inside a boiler and burned down the main lodge in 1999.

According to Richards, the first rebuild included more modern fire safety features.

The owners hoped they wouldn’t be dealing with another bad fire, but Richards founded the resort with his wife nearly five decades ago and says he plans to rebuild the resort so it can continue to be a destination for people from all across the country.

The fire was extinguished, but high winds caused flames to flare up just before 3:30 a.m. on Tuesday, according to the Becker County Sheriff’s Office. Fire crews said they will continue to monitor the scene throughout the night.