DORI MONSON

Seattle’s Elks Lodge #92 will likely be closed half a year

Nov 13, 2018, 5:26 AM | Updated: 4:49 pm
Elks...
(KIRO 7)
(KIRO 7)

The director of Elks Lodge #92 told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson that there is not yet a clear answer on how much a fire that occurred last week will cost the state’s first Elks establishment, but that one thing is certain — the damage is extensive enough that the lodge will keep its doors shut for at least six months.

“It is a kick in the seat,” said Corbett Cummins, who carries the title of ‘exalted ruler’ that the Elks bestow on their directors.

The Seattle Fire Department believes that an arson started the fire at the lodge, which sits just west of the Fremont Bridge on the Queen Anne side of the water.

“It looks like somebody got some wood and put it near one of our entrances, then doused it in lighter fluid and then lit it,” Cummins said. “You don’t put fire up against a door unless you’re trying to burn the door down.”

According to KIRO 7, the inferno began on the building’s exterior and severely damaged the Elks Lodge offices and kitchen.

As for who started the blaze, Cummins hasn’t a clue.

“That is one that’s been keeping me up at night,” he said, wondering who could have such a strong vendetta against a philanthropic group.

He pointed out that just days before the fire occurred, the Elks had raised nearly $10,000 in a fundraiser for Children’s Miracle Network, which supports Seattle Children’s Hospital. In fact, Cummins said, the land for the original Children’s Hospital was donated by the Elks Lodge #92.

“That’s the kind of work we do, and so whoever decided they needed to try to burn our place down was just very misguided, very misdirected, and it’s a rough situation,” Cummins said.

As bleak as the coming days look for the Elks, there are some bright spots. Cummins is grateful to Seattle police officers for conducting a thorough investigation of the site, noting that he “really [does] appreciate the police doing their diligence.”

Other Elks in the region have stepped in to help, too. Local lodges in Ballard and Shoreline have lent their facilities to the Queen Anne Elks, and Cummins said that exalted rulers from far and wide have called offering help.

“It is a confusing thing to have happen, and it’s a somewhat terrible thing to have happen, but the Elks are doing right now what they always have done — they’re rallying around the people in need and they’re helping out,” he said.

RELATED: History goes missing with theft of Ballard Elks bell

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Seattle’s Elks Lodge #92 will likely be closed half a year