Authorities: Cause of lodge fire a mystery

The ruins of Thunder Mountain Lodge on Grand Mesa were still smoldering on Wednesday.

While an investigation was still in its early stages Wednesday, there was no immediate indication a blaze that destroyed a decades-old lodge on Grand Mesa had suspicious origins, Delta County Undersheriff Mark Taylor said.

Delta sheriff’s investigators, accompanied by agents of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, spent a good portion of Wednesday at the charred remains of Thunder Mountain Lodge, 20658 Baron Lake Drive. Taylor said the lodge owner, Mark Stewart, called 911 around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday and reported the property was fully engulfed in flames. Initial indications were that cabins and other outbuildings were not burned, Taylor said.

There were no reported injures, Taylor said.

A posting to Thunder Mountain Lodge’s Facebook page said that Hunter, a beloved Golden Retriever who lived at the lodge, also was unscathed.

Attempts to reach Stewart and others associated with the business were unsuccessful on Wednesday.

While the cause of the blaze remains a mystery, residents like Kim Sutherland, 60, of Grand Junction reacted with shock to the news. Sutherland said his family owns a cabin roughly two miles away. He recalled walking in the 1960s with his grandmother for breakfast at what was formerly known as Spruce Lodge.

Sutherland said the news tweaked memories of the March 2005 explosion of Electric Mountain Lodge near Paonia that killed three people and injured 16.

“We all worry about fire because there’s no way a (fire) truck can get there in time,” he said. “I’m thankful nobody was inside (Thunder Mountain) when it caught fire.”

Sutherland offered a rough estimate of 150 cabins being in the 10-square-mile area around Thunder Mountain Lodge.

“They had great prime rib there on the weekends,” Sutherland said. “It’s hard to find a place for folks to get a bite to eat up there.”


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