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Long Barn Lodge reopens in part


A week after Long Barn Lodge lost its flagship building to fire, the business is again up and running.

"We still have hotel rooms that are operational, if you want a nice place to stay," said Laura Griffith, who has worked in the lodge office for the past six years. She now conducts business out of a makeshift office, and said the ice rink is set to open on schedule.

Lodge owner Scott Richards confirmed the rink's opening day for Nov. 22.

"The Lord is good," Richards said. "The main thing that we lost was the front building to accommodate the dining room, restaurant and game room, but the motel and the cabins and the ice rink are going on as they always have."

The flames consumed 11 guest rooms in the 84-year-old main building, Richards said, but his 20-unit motel and all 10 cabins remain standing. He attributed the lodge's continuing business to county workers, who transferred his power to a new service main and ensured the lodge's water supply was not turned off.

Officials ruled out water heaters and electricity as possible causes of the fire, Richards said, adding that it is too early to know what ignited the blaze.

The Tuolumne County Sheriff's Department is now handling the investigation.

Richards said he will rebuild the main lodge, but is currently waiting to hear more details from his insurance company.

"We're just going through the process," Richards said, adding that the insurance company has also yet to put a dollar value on the lost main lodge building.

While the lodge is still doing business, it has encountered a few cancellations. "There was a big group that was scheduled to be here and we couldn't obviously accommodate them," Richards said.

But Richards said he is just thankful the group wasn't there when the fire broke out.

"They were scheduled to show up on Sunday — that could have been a whole different story," Richards said.

Although the fire consumed guest rooms that Richards just finished remodeling last month, he said the disaster could be worse.

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