Lucy Martin didn’t expect the morning after her 40th anniversary standing in a parking lot in a bathrobe watching the hotel she was staying at burn down.
Martin and her husband Steve were guests at the Quaaout Lodge in Chase, B.C. on Sunday morning when the resort was destroyed by fire.
Steve retired in March, and as a retirement present his employer had given them a gift certificate for the resort. The couple had stayed there before and had enjoyed their time.
“It (was) our anniversary weekend and we thought it was a good opportunity to go,” Martin said.
The couple drove down from Prince George on Friday. Saturday they spent their anniversary golfing, then went for a nice dinner at the lodge restaurant.
“Sunday morning my husband got up and had a shower, then I hopped in the shower,” she said. “Then he came and told me the fire alarm was going off. I threw a towel on my hair, and put on a bathrobe and running shoes. We did smell a bit of smoke as we left our room.”
Steven had the presence of mind to grab his wallet and their cellphones before they left the room, but the rest of their luggage they left behind. As they left the hotel, staff were knocking on room doors telling people to get out, she said.
“We were out in the parking lot for 10 minutes and you could see the smoke coming through the roof,” Martin said. “It took off quite quickly through the roof. At that point, our half of the hotel was totally in flames. Thankfully everyone was safe, and all the pets were accounted for.”
Martin said she heard one pet staying at the hotel was initially thought to be lost in the fire, but later turned up running around the golf course.
A local woman who lived along Little Shuswap Lake saw Martin huddled in her bathrobe in the parking lot, and cycled home to bring Martin some clothes to wear, she said.
They were trapped there, as their luggage and car keys were inside the burning hotel. Thankfully Steve’s mother lives in Pritchard, B.C. about 30 minutes drive away, and was able to come pick them up.
Their daughter drove down from Prince George to deliver them a spare set of vehicle keys so they could get home.
"(Although) we lost some valuable items, including my wedding ring set, the most important thing is that everyone has been accounted for," Martin said in a followup email.
Quaaout Lodge was operated by the Little Shuswap Lake Band, and Chief James Tomma told The Canadian Press that the cause of the fire is under investigation and the band is working to support its guests and employees.
Tomma says the resort, which includes the top-20 PGA-Canada ranked Talking Rock Golf Course, will be closed until the fire investigation is complete.
He said the resort is an "engine of economic development" for the 347-member band and a cultural heart of the community, and will be rebuilt.
- With files from The Canadian Press