The Allure on the
Lake, 526 Indian Boundary Road in the Indian Oak Mall--formerly, under
previous ownership, the Waterbird banquet center--burned to the ground early
this morning, in what Chesterton Deputy Fire Chief Nate Williams called a
No one was injured
in the blaze, but Williams told the Chesterton Tribune that The
Allure’s owner, Troy Clark, has estimated damage at more than $1 million.
The cause of the
fire remains unknown but Williams said that investigators believe it to be
accidental in nature. He also said that the call came in
initially--incorrectly--as a “hotel fire,” which Williams speculated could
account for this morning’s extensive Chicago media coverage of the blaze.
Capt. Rudy Jimenez,
whose crew first-responded to the scene, said that the fire appears to have
begun sometime between 12 a.m., when a manager closed the banquet center
after an event, and 2:45 a.m., when Chesterton Police Officer Erik Palleson,
on routine building patrol, spotted smoke “blowing through the roof” from
his position across the street at Gelsosomo’s Pizzeria.
“It was already a
pretty big fire on our arrival,” Jimenez said, with “fire through the roof
and heavy involvement,” prompting the CFD to immediately assume a defensive
posture. Multiple ground lines were run and engine deck guns deployed,
supplied with water from three different hydrants in the area, while the
CPD’s ladder truck undertook an aerial attack. By the time the fire was out,
Jimenez added, the department’s ladder truck alone had flowed 80,000 gallons
Assisting the CFD
at the scene was the Valparaiso FD with its own ladder truck, which was also
put into service, and the Porter, Burns Harbor, Liberty Township, Beverly
Shores, Town of Pines, Portage, South Haven, and Washington Township FDs.
By 7:40 a.m.
firefighters were able to enter and search the building, confirming that it
was empty, although Jimenez did say that firefighters could not yet access
portions where the roof had collapsed. “We’ll be bringing in some heavy
Not only did the
cause of the fire remain unknown this morning, Jimenez said. The place of
origin did too. The best investigators could say before deadline is that it
apparently started somewhere in the “center” of the building, where
firefighters encountered “the biggest volume of fire.”
“It’s still too
early to make that determination,” Jimenez said.
By 8 a.m. a
representative both of the State Fire Marshal’s Office and of the Allure’s
insurance company were at the scene, Williams told the Tribune.
While Clark put the
loss at in excess of $1 million, Williams remarked that the sheer loss of
revenue is likely to be “huge” as well. “There were bookings through the
summer into the fall,” he said.
Williams also noted
that there were no sprinklers installed in The Allure and that none was
required under Clark’s building permit for a remodel.
In January 1990,
Wayne Chubb, developer of the Indian Oak Mall, announced a $2-million
expansion plan under which “The Waterbird”--a 400-seat waterside dining
facility--would be built, along with the addition of 40 new hotels rooms in
the nearby Indian Oak Inn, accessed by a glassed-in walkway. For years the
Waterbird was a popular venue for local events, including Easter brunches,
Chamber luncheons, and other fetes. Troy--who also owns The Allure in
LaPorte--purchased the property several years ago from the Chubb family.