Christine Sand was packed and ready to leave Cozy Bay Resort Saturday afternoon, having just spent an overnight stay in a cabin scrapbooking with five friends.
Two friends had already left the resort, located on the southern tip of Lake Edward, and the remaining three women had their bags packed at the front door of their cabin, waiting for their ride home.
That's when strange things started happening, Sand said.
Electrical breakers popped and a burning smell filled the cabin. The women spoke with the owners, Bret and Suzette Jevning, but the smell was believed to have come through the cabin's fireplace.
Moments later when fire alarms went off, one of the women again left the cabin to tell the Jevnings and saw smoke coming from the roof of the cabin. The women grabbed their belongings and fled the cabin.
"The three of us stood there for a while across the road and watched in disbelief that we were just in the building," said Sand, thankful that no one was injured by the fire. "So much goes through your mind, the what ifs, like what if it had happened the night before or early in the morning.
"It was a beautiful place. The cabin was real nice. Everyone got out just fine, which we're all very thankful for. We were a little shaken but not hurt."
The cabin, a seven-room duplex that could be closed off into separate living quarters, was a total loss of about $250,000, said Bret Jevning.
The fire didn't damage the resort's six other cabins or the main lodge, but the water distribution system for the resort was located in the cabin that burned down Saturday afternoon, said Jevning, and until water is restored at the resort it will remain closed.
Jevning said he is planning to rebuild.
"We hope to rebuild so we can facilitate our summer bookings," Jevning said. He said the cabin had been booked from the May 14 fishing opener through Labor Day. "A vast majority of those are repeat guests to that cabin."
Jevning said he has called some guests who had winter reservations to let them know the cabin wouldn't be available but he hasn't notified guests with summer reservations because he hopes to have the cabin rebuilt.
The Nisswa Fire Department, with assistance from the Brainerd and Mission Township fire departments, battled the fire from about 4:30 p.m. until midnight Saturday, said Nisswa Fire Chief Richard Geike.
The cause of the fire is being investigated by the State Fire Marshal's Office and an investigator from the Jevning's insurance company. Geike said the cause of the fire doesn't appear suspicious.
"Right now we're not looking at arson. It appears to be just an accidental fire," Geike said.
MATT ERICKSON can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5857.
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