LAKEWOOD, Wash. - A fire destroyed a Pierce County staple over the weekend-- Bill's Boathouse on American Lake. Now, the owners are trying to rebuild from the ashes.
The cause of the fire is still unknown.
"We are absolutely heartbroken. We had grand plans of reopening this May. So much cleaning and reorganizing and permit acquisitions happening. Only for one night to take it all away. So many family treasures completely lost. Please keep us in your thoughts as we figure out how to possibly come back from this tragedy," the owners wrote on Facebook.
In the early 70s, Glenn Anderson bought Bill's Boathouse, from the actual Bill.
The boat house became a place where his family and community could come together.
In the early 2000s, David Anderson took Bill's Boathouse over, after his father died.
The COVID-19 pandemic had shut down the lighthouse, but the family had plans to re-open in May. The fire has made that goal an impossibility.
"I see a great deal of sadness and darkness and destruction," Anderson said.
He said more than just the building burned down.
"My memories are here. My dad's fingerprints are here," Anderson said.
While the property belongs to the Anderson family, David says Bill's Boathouse has always been the community's.
"I’m not Bill, my father wasn’t Bill, there was a Bill, but it’s Bill’s Boat House because that’s the way it’s always been," he said.
He believes with the community's help, the boathouse will be back again.
"There’s hope," Anderson said.
To help with the rebuilding and cleaning process, Bills Boathouse has put together a fundraiser. You can donate two ways: via GiveSendGo or Venmo. For the Venmo donations, if prompted, the last four digits of the phone number are 2536.
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