Neighbors Remember Lodge Destroyed by Fire

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Bert Telutki remembers playing shuffleboard and running around in the woods around the Michillinda Lodge in Whitehall as a small child.

“It feels like I’m looking at a big gaping hole in my heart to be honest with you, because it did mean so much to me and to our community,” Bert Telutki said.

He was fast asleep Sunday morning when he recieved a call that the lodge was on fire.

“The assistant general manager called me and said you might want to come and see the lodge for the last time,” Telutki said.

The fire started around 4:30 a.m. Sunday morning in main lodge. There were five workers staying at the lodge, and all of them made it out safe. The fire chief for White Lake Fire Authority says they’re lucky the lodge wasn’t packed.

“If we would have had this during the summer time, we would have had a rescue operation. Obviously with that many guests that typically stays here, we would have put fire suppression off to the side to consider life safety,” said Gregory Holman.

Holman is the chief  of the White Lake Fire Authority.

All together, more than 50 firefighters from 15 different departments in Muskegon County assisted with the three alarm blaze.

Bert hopes the owners plan on rebuilding the lodge they lost.

“I think this would be a big gaping hole in our community if this wasn’t rebuilt or some attempt made to get it back to its glory,” Telutki said.

Crews are still investigating the fire. The chief said it could be a couple of days, or weeks before they know the cause due to the extent of the damage.

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1 Comment

  • Chris (Novi, Mich.)

    My family and I have been guests at Michillinda for more than 50 years, spanning three generations. Seeing images of the Lodge on fire is like seeing a friend cry out for help, but there's nothing you can do. It positively breaks my heart.

    My thanks go out to all the fire and rescue personnel who fought against all odds to save the Lodge and the surrounding buildings. I'm grateful no one — hotel staffer or firefighter — was hurt. I hope Michillinda owners elect to rebuild. I'll be the first to return to 5207 Scenic Drive if and when they do.

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