Museum Burns Down, Local Artist Reacts

Reporter: David Tate

Natural Bridge, VA - If you've been to Natural Bridge, you've seen the Haunted Monster Museum. Monday night a fire destroyed the roadside attraction, and now investigators are trying to figure out what happened.

Mark Cline's Enchanted Castle Studio was burned 11 years ago, and Cline says this loss should not be looked at as a tragedy.

As nationally recognized artist, Cline watches part of his life's work go up in smoke and says all he can do is provide narration for what is the second major fire he has dealt with in the past 11 years.

"I don't want people to feel sorry for me. I'm a winner. I look at situations, understand what happened and I reinvent myself. I constantly reinvent myself," said Cline.

Just a dozen hours later and Cline is already loading up his newest creation - a 20+ foot tall Allosaurus that's needs to be delivered a few hours up the interstate.

Cline has been through this before. In 2001, Cline's Enchanted Castle Studio, where these pieces of art are stored, also burned to the ground taking many of Cline's projects with it.

"I think the sense of loss was for the community at large. I think there was a lot of good memories there that people experienced and memories like those. There is no way to replace those," said Cline.

State police investigators were on the scene of Monday's blaze but are so far unable to determine a cause. As that continued, firefighters were forced to back burn an additional 20 acres around the 20 acre burn zone.

The property belongs to the owners of Natural Bridge, and it is unclear what will happen here. That's not the case for Cline who will continue to move forward regardless what happens.

"I do my work for one reason and that's to create happiness on the planet. That's the only reason," said Cline.

Cline says the fire 11 years ago was suspicious, and he believes this one is too considering all the power was cut off to the attraction in the off season. The museum would have reopened on Memorial Day.

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