Trout Lake Resort loses main building to fire
A page went out at 4:47 a.m. on Wednesday, April 22, 2009, calling the Colvill and Maple Hill Fire Departments to 789 Trout Lake Road, the Trout Lake Resort, for what was first thought to be a chimney fire. However, by the time the first fire engine arrived on the scene, flames were through the roof of the main lodge building.
Firefighters were hampered by poor road conditions. Immediately after the first page went out, Colvill Firefighter Tom Thompson contacted Cook County Law Enforcement to ask if the Trout Lake Road was plowed. He said if it were not, Maple Hill would most likely be able to respond faster, since Colvill would have to take a longer route on County Road 60. Maple Hill was paged at 4:49 a.m. and arrived on the scene at 5:21 a.m.
Maple Hill was able to submerge a water pump in Trout Lake and a good water supply was available, but the historic lodge building was too far gone.
Colvill arrived shortly after and the fire departments attacked the flames from two sides, to no avail. The firefighters successfully protected an adjacent laundry building and other resort structures.
Guy Waver, living in the main lodge, had been awakened by smoke. He left the building to call 911on a satellite phone but was unable to get a signal. He had to re-enter the building to use the rotary phone inside, as the structure continued to fill with smoke. Waver said he attempted to squelch the flames with a fire extinguisher, but it was apparent that it was growing too quickly. He ran to the nearby laundry and storage building for garden hoses and tried in vain to stop the fire’s spread.
Waver was joined by his siblings—Craig and his wife, Kathy; Karen, and Rusty, who watched in disbelief as their resort office—and home—burned. The family alternated between gratitude and sadness. They talked of the material things lost in the flames—an intricately carved dining table, mounted hunting trophies, a legendary bearskin rug, and their mother’s renowned homemade blueberry and raspberry cordials.
They pointed out the office area to firefighters who concentrated on that area, trying to save all-important resort guest information.
The siblings expressed relief that Guy and his dog, Buddy, had escaped from the fire uninjured. They also were relieved that their mother, Nancy Waver had not been in the house when the fire broke out. She was away on vacation—her first in more years than they could remember.
The Kratoska-Waver family has operated Trout Lake Resort for 63 years. The main lodge was built by the late Charlet and Bud Kratoska shortly after they moved to Trout Lake in 1946.