A landmark in Rennie has burned to the ground. The Rennie Hotel was destroyed by fire early Thursday morning.
At 3:50 am, officers from the Whitemouth and Lac du Bonnet RCMP detachments were called to the hotel and post office as a fire was noted inside. Police say no injuries were reported. Both buildings were destroyed.
Russ Gawluk is Reeve for the Rural Municipality of Reynolds. Standing near the burning building at 11 o'clock Thursday morning, Gawluk tells Steinbachonline.com that there are no apparent outstanding flames and that the fire is contained inside the walls and false ceiling. He notes an excavator is tearing down the structure one piece at a time.
According to Gawluk, the hotel had been closed for the last couple of months, but he says it was a huge part of the community.
"This goes back to CP Rail going through and all the towns along (Highway) 44 that supported that, back when 44 was the Trans Canada," he explains.
And, with Rennie considered a gateway to the Whiteshell, many sledders would come through that community each winter. He notes there would be hundreds of sleds stopping there on a typical weekend in winter, fueling up or grabbing food before continuing on with their adventure.
Fire departments from Whiteshell, Whitemouth and Reynolds responded to the call and were able to contain the fire to ensure it did not spread to any additional buildings.
As a result of the fire, Highway 44 through Rennie remains closed.
Gawluk says the fact there are no injuries is a blessing in itself.
"In a nasty situation, we're doing well," he comments.
RCMP say the investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing with assistance from the Office of the Fire Commissioner.