TRYON, N.C. (WSPA) — A historic Western North Carolina Inn was destroyed in a fire on Thursday.
Marilyn’s Melrose Inn went up in flames before collapsing just after noon.
Several agencies including Tryon, Columbus, Landrum and Saluda fire departments responded to the massive blaze. The crews worked for more than nine hours to contain and put out the flames.
The Polk County fire chief says it’s not unusual for a 25-bedroom structure with an immense amount of flammable items to burn for hours.
Smoke could be seen miles away from the Inn located at 55 Melrose Avenue.
According to its website, Marilyn’s Melrose Inn was built in 1889 and owned by quilt artist and author Marilyn Doheny.
Doheny was there when the fire began. She tells 7News she saw a small flame come out of the wall in an area where she didn’t know there was an outlet and nothing was plugged in.
Two others were also at the Inn, but 7News has learned everyone made it out. According to the Fire Chief the people were checked out by Emergency Responders on scene and will be monitored throughout the night.
7News is told the Inn had guests attending the FEI World Equestrian Games and efforts are being made to find them accommodations.
“It’s my life. It’s my legacy,” she wept as flames consumed the Inn, along with her quilts and books. “Everything I own is gone.”
Not even 12 hours after the blaze, the community gathered at Tryon Bottle on Trade Street to collect donations for Doheny. Dozens of people donated clothes and toiletries, while others made financial donations to help Doheny rebuild.
According to a neighbor and several people who know Doheny, the inn was not insured and Doheny lost everything in the blaze.
“Marilyn was just part of our community and the inn is a precious thing that we’ve lost,” said Shelly Celf a friend of Doheny’s.
Those who wish to help can donate to a Gofundme page that’s been set up to help the inn owner.
The Polk County fire chief hopes fire investigators can begin their assessment on Friday to determine what caused the fire.