2021 Fire at Life of Riley

Fire At Life Of Riley Resort

By Josh Gillson

Now that we have had a few moments to breathe, I would like to fill you in on what happened early in the morning on July 11. At a little after 1am multiple guests noticed the Gazebo fully engulfed in flames. They contacted the resort staff and called 911. The fire quickly spread to the bait house, then to the Store/ Game Room, and finally the corner of the public restrooms. Staff and owners had pumps in to water and did what they could until help arrived. When the tone went out and Life Of Riley crossed the scanners, EVERYONE showed up as quickly as possible. A big thanks to Cook Fire, Buyck Fire, Tower EMS, St. Louis County Sheriff’s office, Lake Vermilion Fire Brigade, and Lake Country Power for all coming as quickly as possible to help us contain and put out the fire.

Because of quick detection, quick thinking, and quick response the worst-case scenario held at bay. Riley was extremely lucky. Nobody was hurt, only unoccupied communal spaces were lost, very little guest property was damaged (little heat damage on a few boats), and NO cabins burnt. In true Riley fashion as the response teams were packing up the staff turned on the coffee pot and fired up the grill to make sure everyone was fed before they left, then turned right back around and opened for breakfast at 7am not missing a beat.

It took a couple days but all services were once again made available for guests: bait, gas, ice, and more were quickly brought in. The health and safety of our guests and the lake were a priority and the cleanup started that day. In the days to follow a number of previous staff, neighbors, guests, and so many others all called, emailed, texted, and some just showed up to help. The love and concern folks have shown is overwhelming and just goes to show us how many lives Life Of Riley has made its mark on.

Now that cleanup is almost complete the plans for the future are well underway. If you have been to the resort since the fire, you have probably heard the short stump speech of all that is to come. So many ideas that the list has filled pages and pages. Yet that is our homework, everyone making lists and drawings of what the family wants to do; it will all be compiled and put to a vote. YES, this tragedy is heartbreakingly sad. YES, we will rebuild. YES, it will be bigger and better. NO, it will never be the same but nobody can take those moments and memories that were made and shared in those locations here at Life Of Riley Resort. So stay tuned as we will try to keep everyone informed as progress is made on the rebuild.

From the hottest crucible comes the hardest steel and from these ashes we will rise.