Remember when I told you about my annual family reunion at Waterton? About how my family has been staying in the same hotel (some of us even in the same room) for 62 years?
Well last week that hotel, the historic Kilmorey Lodge, burned to the ground. It was a very, very sad moment for me, for the rest of my family, and for everyone who had visited the city and stayed at the hotel.
After my dad sent out the email announcing the fire, we all started responding. In a matter of hours, the emails being exchanged amongst cousins, aunts and uncles went from shocked to sad to hopeful. I was surprised by which of my relatives reacted strongly and which ones seemed hardly affected. In the end, though, my uncle Gerry was right – we don’t go back every year because of the hotel. We go back because the drinking age is 18. Waterton is where our family gathers to celebrate and continues to make wonderful memories.
Thank goodness I was past the emotional stage (and therefore was able to laugh) when I received an email from my aunt Sally with this announcement:
“The Cardston fire department has done a thorough investigation and has determined that the cause of the blaze was spontaneous combustion. They have concluded that during the evening of Monday Feb. 19th a load of laundry was completed and folded while still warm and placed in a cloth tote bag. The combined heat generated in the bag was sufficient to start this laundry and tote bag on fire. The fire quickly spread to engage the entire wooden structure resulting in the destruction of the Kilmorey Lodge in Waterton Lakes National Park.”
After I stopped laughing, I had a few follow-up questions. Aside from getting the date wrong, I don’t feel that they have sufficiently explained how this hotel caught fire in the middle of a cold, snowy, Canadian mountain village. I mean, what sort of laundry spontaneously combusts? And what can I do (and what HAVE I been doing) to keep this from happening to me?
(It reminds me of a Simpsons episode in which a salesman says to a group of people, “Folks, how often have you opened the morning paper only to have the rubber band fly off and hit you right in the eye?” Marge enthusiastically responds with, “Never. But it’s my number one concern.”)
Waterton won’t be the same without the Kilmorey, but I’m glad they at least found out about this very alarming laundry vulnerability somehow. Hopefully when they rebuild it they will learn from past mistakes.