Hotel Fire

 On the corner of Main Street and Railway Street (now Nykolaishen Drive) in Kamsack stood two hotels. The Russell Hotel was on the south side, the King George on the north. The former was torn down many long years ago. The latter, now known as the Woodlander Hotel, went down in flames last night.

As soon as I wrapped my brain around what I was seeing on Facebook this morning, I started sharing. Anyone who grew up in Kamsack would connect to this historic event, in a similarly tragic way to how they felt in 1986 from the Kamsack Collegiate Institute suffered the same fate. 

The drone footage by Dustin Wilson tells the tale and gives your a visceral sense of the heat that must have been generated by the inferno. 

We spent many hours in the building directly to the east of the hotel as kids. Gateway was owned by my grandfather and later, by my Uncle George. We knew every nook and cranny of that parts store. I find it hard to believe it survived what happened last night.

Our family home, where my Mom and Dad were sleeping as all this happened, is only a few blocks away. This screenshot from some drone footage taken by Cheryl and Lee West today illustrates the proximity. 

In the old days, the air raid siren went off when a fire happened. That plaintive sound would wake everyone up and spark the obvious question of what was on fire. I suspect that loud notification is a thing of the past, which explains why Mom and Dad were oblivious to what happened. All they knew is that the power was off for several hours. 

King George Hotel, Kamsack, SK
Russell Hotel, Kamsack, SK

This is a huge loss to the town of Kamsack, the garden of Saskatchewan. Built in 1912, the building that started its life as the King George and ended its tenure as the Woodlander Hotel was a fixture in the community for over 100 years. Much thanks goes to the volunteer fire crews from Kamsack and Rhein who battled the blaze, protecting lives and property. Not enough can be said for their dedication and efforts. 


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