MERLIN, Ore. (AP) — A fire has destroyed much of a resort on the Rogue River in Southern Oregon, authorities said.
The Rural Metro fire department in Josephine County confirmed a “major fire incident” around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Galice Resort west of Grants Pass, The Statesman Journal reported.
Local, state and federal agencies responded to put out the blaze. The resort’s restaurant, store and boat shed burned, while the lodge may have been less impacted, authorities said.
The resort that has been serving the community for over four decades is now burnt to the ground. Community members say they don’t know what will come next.
“I would say the building is a total loss,” said Jes Webb with Rural Metro Fire.
The Galice Resort, a hotspot for all things, rafting, music, and hot meals, in Merlin, is now mostly gone, KOBI-5 reported. The resort was open mid-morning Tuesday when we’re told workers saw smoke and quickly evacuated.
“They smelled smoke and saw a haze of smoke in the building, they started to evacuate the building, and as soon as the last people were leaving the building there was fire coming through the floor,” said Webb.
Oregon Forestry officials said the blaze spread to the wildland, igniting five small fires around the property and that helicopters and a plane were used in addition to firefighting on the ground to stop the fire from spreading.
Rural Metro firefighters are investigating the cause of the fire. Fire officials said no injuries were reported.
Galice Resort has been at the center of Rogue River rafting and outdoor culture. It has a restaurant overlooking the river, cabins for rent, and offers shuttles, river trips and rentals.
Mary Lou Thomason, whose family has owned the combination restaurant, store and rafting service since 1981, told the Grants Pass Daily Courier, “It went so fast.”