Fri, April 14, 2006
LIBAU -- Fire destroyed a rural hotel and left its
sole resident homeless early yesterday morning.
The Hotel Libau Inn caught fire sometime around 2:30
"It's sad," said former resident Reinhart
Schwark yesterday during a break from his job at Horbas
Transport. "It was a meeting place for a lot
of the local people ... And I've got no place to go."
Schwark had called the hotel home for the past four
The single-building blaze caused $250,000 damage,
also destroying the tiny town's sole restaurant, beer
vendor and hotel.
Libau is about 45 km north of Winnipeg.
Schwark, the hotel's only occupant at the time of
the blaze, awoke to the sound of an alarm. He said
he left his room and followed a trail of smoke downstairs,
then spotted flames through a smoky haze inside the
REDUCED TO ASHES
"I broke one door down to go in the kitchen
and I couldn't break the second door down," said
Schwark, who had hoped to put out the blaze. "I
lost a lot of things."
Schwark's tool set, clothing and other items worth
about $2,000 were reduced to ashes, he said yesterday.
For now, he'll stay in the Horbas office.
By afternoon, all that remained of the 1940s inn
was a large pile of charred doors, steps and wood.
Jagdish Mistry, who has owned the hotel for 11 years,
said he was shocked to see his investment turn to
"It was very depressing," said Mistry from
his Winnipeg home yesterday evening. "I have
no idea what's next."
Mistry has insurance but isn't sure if he'll rebuild
the 12-room, two-storey structure.
He tried to sell the property last June, but gave
up due to lack of interest.
Grand Marais, East Selkirk, Narol and Beausejour
fire departments battled the blaze.
"It was such a devastating fire, we had to take
it down with a backhoe," said East Selkirk Fire
Chief Len Van Beveren, adding the cause of the fire
is under investigation.
Faulty wiring may be to blame, but the blaze "didn't
look like anything suspicious," he said.
The fire chief said crews battled the blaze until
nearly noon. The structure began to collapse about
A mom and her two children, living in a home just
behind the hotel, were evacuated for a few hours as
smoke drifted into their yard.
"There were embers flying by our house,"
said the mom, who asked not to be named.
She said the hotel is one of the community's few
businesses, which her children often visited for snacks.
"I've lived here all my life, so this is upsetting,"
she said. "I hope (the owner) rebuilds."