MIDDLE SMITHFIELD TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- A huge fire at the old Fernwood Resort near East Stroudsburg is not going to change the new owners' plans for the place.
The flames destroyed a recreation building at the old resort along Route 209 in Middle Smithfield Township. The fire started after 8 p.m. Sunday.
On Monday, fire investigators and the new owners came to assess the damage.
A state police fire marshal is not calling this fire suspicious at this time, although a cause has not been determined.
A Buddhist group based in Queens, New York bought the former Fernwood Resort back in December.
Newswatch 16 spoke to one of the owners who says while this fire will delay construction, it will not stop it.
"I can't describe my feelings. It's really shocking," said Jack Wang, Jinyin Temple vice president. "It's a big setback, but it's not going to stop us. That is not what Buddha told us to do. We are not going to stop."
The property manager tells Newswatch 16 he was on site when he saw smoke coming from the building. He was able to call 911, but it was too late.
"We saw the light. We saw the fire on the roof. We didn't realize it in the very beginning because the warehouse is covered by a metal sheet," said property manager George Xu.
No one was inside the building when it caught fire and the owner says only a few pieces of furniture were inside.
The plan is to still turn this former rec building into what the group calls a "world peace center."
"We are not going to quit. We are going to stay here, and we are going to do what we planned originally although there might be some delays. We just hope to have the same enthusiasm from the local people and local community," Wang added.
Leroy Lewis used to work at the resort. He came to see the damage.
"I couldn't believe it. My God, I couldn't believe it," said Lewis.
Fernwood closed a few years ago. Back in the day, this resort was a place where many people used to spend their vacations.
Glen David from Mercer County says the rec building was a great place to go.
"It's just sad to see something like that. The rec center was always really nice when it was operating. They had shows in there, setups with stages and seating," said David.
Glen's wife Kathy recalls staying in one of the villas at the resort back in 2002.
"I mean, we were sad when we decided to drive by last night just to check it out, and we were sad because it was closed and needed repairs. Now, it burned. Yeah, it's just sad," said Kathy David.
Fire officials say they will be back to continue investigating what sparked the flames.