The iconic boat along Highway 97 at Commonwealth Road was destroyed in a fire April 1, 2021. (Jennifer Smith - Lake Country Calendar)

The iconic boat along Highway 97 at Commonwealth Road was destroyed in a fire April 1, 2021. (Jennifer Smith - Lake Country Calendar)

Loss of iconic Highway 97 boat tragic: resort president

Holiday Park boat ‘reignited my connection to my dad’

An iconic landmark is no more after an early-morning fire Thursday.

The boat, a sign for Holiday Park RV and Condo Resort, on Highway 97 and Commonwealth Road was fully engulfed in flames when Lake Country fire crews arrived first after the 1:30 a.m. report on April 1.

Kelowna Fire Department platoon captain Shayne Kiehlbauch said there were no hydrants in the area, so water had to be shuttled to the scene with water tenders.

“The boat collapsed during the fire, so an excavator was brought in to help with extinguishing the fire,” Kiehlbauch said.

“At this time, we do not have a cause for the fire and it is under investigation.”

The Lake Country Fire Department was first on scene to the iconic boat on Highway 97 and Commonwealth Road. The boat is a sign for Holiday Park RV and Condo Resort. (District of Lake Country - Contributed)

The Lake Country Fire Department was first on scene to the iconic boat on Highway 97 and Commonwealth Road. The boat is a sign for Holiday Park RV and Condo Resort. (District of Lake Country - Contributed)

President Dan Sigal said told Black Press he was made aware of the fire around an hour later and he had hoped it was a bad April Fool’s joke. But, by the time he arrived, the boat was pretty much destroyed.

The boat has been used as part of the resort’s marketing strategy since the 1980s and before that, it worked as a tugboat hauling logs across the Okanagan Lake.

“My father started the resort and was the one that put the boat there,” Sigal said of his father, Saul, who died in 1993.

“It’s pretty tragic,” he said. “It reignited my connection to my dad.”

Sigal said his voicemail and inbox have been flooded with condolences.

“It’s almost like a loss of a person to some people it seems,” Sigal said. “It was quite a landmark for the community.”

Now, Sigal said police and the fire department are still investigating then cleanup of the charred remains alongside Highway 97 will begin, which will “likely cost a small fortune.”

“I don’t think there will be another boat,” he said.

After the fire at the office in September, which the resort team had just finished cleaning up, Sigal said he hopes these fires aren’t targeted.

“They are kicks to the gut,” he said.

READ MORE: UPDATE: Lake Country fire deemed suspicious

The Labour Day fire (Sept. 7, 2020) broke out around 4:45 a.m. and significantly damaged two businesses — the Italian Kitchen and Country Store. Kelowna Fire Department deemed the fire suspicious.

Even though the boat, which was used as the sales office, is gone, Holiday Park RV and Condo Resort remain optimistic.

“As devastating as it is,” Sigal said. “We’re surviving.”

READ MORE: WATCH: Iconic boat on Highway 97 goes up in flames

READ MORE: VIDEO: Rare white ‘spirit moose’ spotted in Cariboo


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

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