abc
QUICK LINKS:

Fire Destroys Russ Kendall's Smoke House, Owner Reacts

Updated: 05/12/2014 6:21 PM
Created: 05/12/2014 4:37 PM WDIO.com
By: Travis Dill
tdill@wdio.com

The owner of an iconic North Shore smokehouse was still in shock Monday as he surveyed the destruction of the family business.

Flames burned down much of Russ Kendall's Smoke House Sunday morning. There were no injuries in the fire, but Co-owner Gordon Olson said a little piece of Knife River was lost in the blaze.

“It's absolutely devastating. Not only did I, my wife and my son lose our living and way to put food on the table, but we lost part of our culture,” Olson said.

He said the smoke house has been serving tourists and locals for nearly a century. Fire crews stopped the flames before they reached the storefront, but extensive damage to the smokehouse will close the business.

Olson said his son hoped to continue the business into the family's fifth generation so they spent about $90,000 to upgrade equipment in the last year. He said that makes the rubble left behind all the more tragic.

“I was just really happy with how the business operated. Everything operated so smoothly. The product that we were turning out, I was very proud of it,” Olson said. “All the facility was remodeled on the inside and brand new freezers and that kind of thing and it was just a horrible loss.”

The Two Harbors Fire Department has not determined what caused the fire, and the investigation continues. Olson isn't sure how his family will move forward.

“Looking into insurance issues, what's covered, what's not covered or if we have any coverage at all,” Olson said.

He was thankful for the support of loyal customers and said the smokehouse will rise from the ashes.

“I hope that I'll be up and running as quickly as possible to not lose those people that have supported us through those many, many years,” Olson said.

Olson said he may lean on the community for help, but he wanted to find direction for the business first. Until then everyone will miss out on a unique taste of the North Shore.

A benefit fund has been set up to help the owners overcome the fire damages. Donations can be made with the Two Harbors Federal Credit Union.

Olson said other smokehouse owners around Lake Superior have also reached out to support him. He may use their facilities on off-days to keep his own customers supplied with fish.

Front Page

  • Alleged Wisc. Bank Robber in St. Louis County Jail

    A man was arrested in Duluth Saturday night after he allegedly robbed a bank in Eau Claire, Wisc. the night before. The Eau Claire Police Department responded to a bank robbery at Wells Fargo Bank in Eau Claire on Friday night.

  • Licenses, Deer Population Down for Wisconsin Deer Opener

    The Wisconsin firearm deer hunting tradition got off to a safe start as Department of Natural Resources officials said they had received no reports of accidental shootings or other injuries by mid-afternoon Sunday on the opener of the state's nine-day gun deer hunt.

  • Northlanders Give Back in Preparation for Holiday Season

    Northlanders gave back on Saturday in preparation for the holiday season. It was Family Volunteer Day at the Duluth Library, and folks participated in several friendly projects.

  • "By Us, For Us" Meeting to Discuss Vision for Equity in Duluth

    Duluth's Native and African heritage communities came together on Saturday to share experiences and ideas at the 1st United Methodist Church. The meeting called "By Us, For Us" invited people of color, African Americans and Native Americans to come together to break bread and learn about each other culturally. 

  • MNsure Enrollments, Renewals Approach 8,000

    Minnesota's health insurance exchange says it has enrolled nearly 8,000 Minnesotans in health plans in the first week of open enrollment this fall. The deadline for enrolling in coverage that takes effect Jan. 1 is Dec. 15.

 

Freezing Rain Advisory

MN AREAS AFFECTED: East Marshall; East Polk; Lake Of The Woods; Mahnomen; North Beltrami; North Clearwater; Pennington; Red Lake; Roseau; South Beltrami; South Clearwater
Expires: 11/24/2014 12:00 AM

Dense Fog Advisory

WI AREAS AFFECTED: Ashland; Bayfield; Burnett; Douglas; Iron; Price; Sawyer; Washburn
Expires: 11/24/2014 12:00 AM

Lake Effect Snow Advisory

WI AREAS AFFECTED: Bayfield; Douglas
Expires: 11/25/2014 6:00 AM

Lake Effect Snow Advisory

WI AREAS AFFECTED: Ashland
Expires: 11/25/2014 8:00 AM

Lake Effect Snow Advisory

WI AREAS AFFECTED: Iron
Expires: 11/25/2014 8:00 AM

Lake Effect Snow Advisory

MI AREAS AFFECTED: Gogebic; Ontonagon
Expires: 11/25/2014 7:00 AM

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement