LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Fire and police officials said a fire early Friday morning left Mt. Charleston Lodge "a total loss."
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police and Clark County Fire Department investigated the fire, which was reported around 4:45 a.m. Sept. 17. CCFD Assistant Fire Chief Thomas Touchstone said first units arrived on scene around 5 a.m. Touchstone said the dining area of the lodge was "fully engulfed."
Fire investigators are still working to determine the cause of the fire. The Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service also assisted on scene.
Touchstone said no injuries were reported as a result of the fire. As of 11 a.m., firefighters were removing debris from the dining room area of the lodge, where the fire is believed to have started. Firefighters still had not been able to search the structure for potential fatalities; however, there are no reports of persons lost and no reason to suspect anyone was inside at the time of the fire, according to CCFD.
"We could have potentially had a large forest fire," Touchstone said, adding that the response time from Mt. Charleston Fire and Las Vegas helped prevent the fire spreading to nearby cabins.
Authorities might need to prevent recreational visitors from accessing the area "for some time," Touchstone said.
We are devastated by the loss of the iconic Mt. Charleston Lodge. Visitors to the mountain today are advised that there will be a road closure most of the day on Hwy 157/Kyle Canyon Rd from Echo Rd to top. pic.twitter.com/0HaXc2Lvb5— Go Mt. Charleston (@GoMtCharleston) September 17, 2021
Guests were safely evacuated early Friday morning. The fire never reached their detached lodges.
"I heard screaming and I thought it was people lighting fireworks when I came out. Then everyone came out and saw it on fire," said Eric Noelanilyte, a Las Vegas resident, who spent her birthday at the lodge.
Noelanilyte grew up visiting Mt. Charleston Lodge. She called the fire 'devastating.'
"I remember being a seven- and eight-year-old having hot chocolate with my family here, having so many memories, being the only restaurant up here."
The U.S. Forest Service said the Cathedral Rock picnic area, trailhead, and trails on the Spring Mountains National Recreation are NOT accessible to the public at this time. The public can still access the Echo, Trail Canyon, and Mary Jane Falls Trailheads.
Christina Ellis, marketing director for Ellis Island Hotel & Casino, which owns the lodge, released the following statement on the fire:
It’s with a heavy heart that we announce that the Mount Charleston Lodge burned down this morning. Most importantly, none of our team members nor any members of the Mount Charleston community were harmed in the fire. The surrounding area and the cabins were both left untouched. We'd like to thank all the first responders who assisted with keeping everything contained this morning. The Lodge was a beloved landmark, and we plan on rebuilding and recreating the atmosphere and charm that so many were able to enjoy throughout the years. – Christina Ellis, Ellis Island Hotel, Casino & Brewery Marketing Director
Gov. Steve Sisolak called the loss of the lodge heartbreaking.
Heartbreaking to hear the news about Mt. Charleston Lodge, a Southern Nevada treasure.We are so grateful to the firefighters and police officers responding and keeping folks safe. https://t.co/oWJoRJdRWw— Steve Sisolak (@SteveSisolak) September 17, 2021
The Resort at Mt. Charleston said it was currently out of harm's way, but expressed sadness for the damage caused to the lodge.