Newer Portion Of Historic Sylvan Lake Lodge Damaged By Fire Sat Night


      Fire damaged the historic Sylvan Lake Lodge in Custer State Park Saturday night, but officials have not given an estimate on the extent or cost of damages to the multi-story hotel.

      The 85-year old lodge was expanded with a new wing in 1991. Custer Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief Matt Spring says the fire was limited to the addition.

No guests were hurt, but 2 firefighters received minor injuries 

      Springer says the fire was “free burning” with heavy smoke and flames extending to the roof when firefighters arrived. Several rooms and portions of the roof were destroyed, but Springer says crews stopped the fire at the midpoint of the wing.

     The initial alarms were in the southeastern portion of the building, but the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

      About two dozen agencies from South Dakota and Wyoming responded. Most worked through the night, battling freezing temperatures, narrow roads covered with ice and snow, and darkness as well as the blaze. 

      The last crews didn’t leave until 18 hours after the fire was reported. Chief Springs says they remain concerned about the possibility of the rubble rekindling, so the burned section is being monitored for hot spots.

      The stone-and-timber Sylvan Lake Lodge was built in 1937, funded in part through Depression-era New Deal programs. 

    It replaced the original Sylvan Lake Hotel, a stopping point for adventurers looking to climb Black Elk Peak, the highest point in America east of the Rockies.