More than 40 fire trucks battled a fire at the Michillinda Beach Lodge for several hours Sunday morning.
Fire crews responded to a call about a heater fire in one of the buildings at the Lakeshore lodge around 4:30 a.m. Sunday.
Firefighters tried to tackle the flames from inside the lodge, but the fire spread upward and engulfed the ceiling, forcing crews to take defensive positioning outside the building. They then called for more resources. All but two Muskegon County fire teams were on the scene.
The lodge is closed for the winter, but five Michillinda Beach Lodge employees were inside the building when the fire caught. None of them were hurt.
Fire crews had a difficult time fighting this fire in particular because of its location. There are no hydrants in the area. Crews were forced to draw water from the surrounding lakes.
The lodge is located at 5207 Scenic Drive in Whitehall.
Dozens of people from the neighborhood were on the grounds as fire crews worked to contain the fire. The Michillinda Beach Lodge has a long history in the area. Residents say the destruction is devastating to the community.
The building involved is insured. There is no word yet on plans to rebuild.
The Michillinda Lodge started as a family getaway in 1894. In 1920, Emanuel "Manny" Duttenhofer purchased one of the larger homes for his family. After the death of his wife, he turned it into a resort and named it the Michillinda Beach Tavern. The name was eventually changed to the Michillinda Beach Lodge.