BARNETT TWP., Pa. (EYT) – The fire that tore through Hominy Ridge Lodge in Cook Forest on Thursday evening currently remains under investigation.
According to Chief David Smith, of Sigel Fire Company, a Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshal went over the scene earlier today, and the fire is currently still ruled as undetermined, with an investigation ongoing.
Property owner Andy Pluta told exploreClarion.com it appeared that the fire began underneath the store part of the building.
“My renter was up here and seen fire coming out there and ran over to our house and yelled ‘your house is on fire!’ We came running out and it was on fire,” Pluta said.
Pluta said the renter was the first one to call in the fire.
Sigel Fire Company, Brookville Volunteer Fire Company, Pine Creek Township Fire Company, Corsica Fire Company, Marienville Volunteer Fire Company, Farmington Township Volunteer Fire Company, Washington Township Volunteer Fire Department, and Jefferson County EMS responded to the scene.
“They did everything they could, with the high winds,” Pluta noted.
According to Smith, the structure fire was already fully involved by the time the fire crews got to the scene, and there wasn’t much hope for saving the structure.
“With the cold temperatures, the folks last night decided to let the hot spots burn out because it wasn’t in danger of spreading to any other buildings or properties,” he noted.
The structure was a total loss.
“There was a store and a residence as well as a car and two motorcycles that were lost in the fire, plus all of their personal belonging,” Smith said.
While everyone got out safe, including the family’s four cats, Pluta noted that they lost all of their belongings, as well as the base for their business. However, that isn’t stopping them from soldering on.
“This is my income, this is what I do for a living, so I gotta keep it going,” Pluta said regarding their cabin rental business.
He noted that they do have insurance, and their insurance company has jumped to action, and reported the insurance company will be providing a trailer for the family to live in for the time being.
“Some neighbors offered us places to stay, but I need to stay on the property,” he noted.
While specifics of the future ahead are uncertain, he said they definitely will be rebuilding.
“I have to,” Pluta stated.
Jill McDermott also contributed to this article.