The community of West Hawk Lake is mourning the loss of its beloved West Hawk Inn, which went up in flames Friday and has been reduced to ash and rubble.

Falcon Beach RCMP said the fire started around 8:30 a.m. Friday and burned throughout the day.

West Hawk Inn fire

The West Hawk Inn is in ruins after a fire reduced the building to ash and rubble Friday. (Jillian Taylor/CBC)

"There was smoke basically all over the building," said Layne Szasz-Nicholson, who saw the blaze.

"It started coming out of the vents and everything, and then we could start to see the flames coming up, and then a couple windows blew out."

Police said there was no one inside the hotel at the time, but the nearby West Hawk Campground had to be evacuated as a result of smoke.

Ollie Bernhardt saw the fire and checked out the rubble on Saturday.

West Hawk Inn fire

One witness told CBC News the flames were burning so hot the metal roof of the West Hawk Inn caught fire. (Jillian Taylor/CBC)

"We've been here for 57 years and we've watched it grow from a small little restaurant to a pub and a cocktail lounge and a restaurant, and it was very sad to watch it go," said Bernhardt.

"It was a place for everybody to go and have a good time.”

The inn had been in the community since the 1920s. It was one of the busiest establishments of its kind in the middle of the small cabin country, and people were stopping by all day Saturday to take in the damage and share memories.

Fire officials don’t yet know what caused Friday's blaze, but a witness at the scene told CBC News it was burning so hot the metal roof actually caught fire.

While the dust has barely settled, people in the area are already talking about rebuilding.