Rubble and ash are all that is left of the Cockcaigne Ski Lodge in Cherry Creek after a fire started in the ski rental area of the building, Monday. The damage was so bad that fire investigators said they might never be able to find an exact cause.
"We arrive on scene, already more than a quarter of the building was engulfed so we were unable to do an offensive attack we had to do a defensive attack," Chief Jim Abbey with the Cherry Creek Fire Department said.
More than a half a dozen emergency crews arrived to fight the fire and it took more than three hours to get the blaze under control. Crews remained on the scene until the following day still putting out hot spots.
The dollar amount of damages to the building is undetermined but Owner Jack VanScoter said it costs people their jobs and took away a piece of the small town's history.
"We had 201 W-2's dispensed this month and those people depend upon their employment here and it's important to them. I feel so bad about their loss," VanScoter said.
The fire devastated many people, including employee Linda Johnson.
"I feel like I did when my dad died and I fell heart sick, just heart sick. But life goes on and it will here too," Johnson said.
VanScoter said right now they're just mourning their loss and don't know what the future will bring.
"Live goes on. We don't have a plan. We had a staff meeting and it's too early to talk about plans," VanScoter said.
But community members said they would support the rebuilding of the lodge in any way possible.
If anyone has information about the fire they are encouraged to call the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office at 753-4734.