Ozark Mountain Lodge in Crawford County caught fire around 11 a.m. Friday.
The fire is believed to have started at a stove inside the building located at 19924 on Highway 71, north of Mountainburg, according to owner Darrell Pense.
Darrell’s son Dustin says no one was staying at the lodge when the fire started. Darrell happened to be driving by when he saw smoke coming out of the building.
“It’s a sad thing when you’ve worked on something for a year and spent all of your money on it. It’s a pretty sad thing,” said Darrell, who watched as fire crews worked to contain the fire.
The family had bought the building about a year ago. They’d just finished doing an extensive remodel earlier this spring.
“Just about our life savings were invested in this building. So, we had some insurance. But I hope we come out. You never know,” said Darrell.
Darrell said he’s hoping to re-open the Ozark Mountain Lodge if his insurance will cover the costs.
Gail Cowart, a Crawford County historian, says the building is historically known as the Ozark Mountain Smokehouse.
The historic part of the building had the least amount of damage. Firemen on site said they believe that’s because it was made of brick.
Darrell said the part of the building that had been added on in the 90s, was made out of wood. That part of the building had much more visible damage.
Fire crews are still investigating what exactly caused the fire. All they can say at this time, is that it had something to do with the stove in the kitchen.
Darrell said no one had been in the building since they’d locked up the night before.