by Diana Haecker ~ October 8th, 2009
The state fire marshal has not yet determined the cause of the fire that burned the Pioneer Lodge in Willow to the ground. In his report, the cause is listed as undetermined and the case remains open.In the wee-hours of September 9, the fire consumed the popular landmark restaurant. According to trooper spokeswoman Beth Ipsen, the fire started at the L-shaped end of the bar and the adjacent wall. From there, it crept up into the roof and progressed throughout the lodge. Firefighters from five fire departments, including the Talkeetna fire station, rushed to help.
While the fire marshal has theories to the cause of the fire, he couldn’t find the substantial physical evidence to back it up.
The fire marshal labeled the case “undetermined”, which means that it is left open in case new evidence emerges. Ipsen said that anyone with additional information regarding the case can call the State’s Division of Fire and Life Safety Inspections Bureau.
The Lodge was valued at $750,000. Although parts of the building are still standing, it is considered a total loss.