Faulty porch heater causes minor fire at Roundhouse Lodge
The Roundhouse Lodge on Whistler Mountain suffered minor damage on Friday, Nov. 12 when the heat tracing on an outside patio set fire to a piece of baseboard. A Whistler-Blackcomb employee spotted smoke coming from the Roundhouse at approximately 7 a.m. and called it into the office.
A team of electricians on the hill who are trained in fire safety used fire extinguishers to put out the fire, which Whistler Assistant Fire Chief Geoff Playfair described as a "slow, smouldering fire." Damage was limited to the baseboard, insulation and wiring.
At approximately 8 a.m., a representative from the fire department was taken by helicopter to the scene to ensure that the fire was out and determine if the Roundhouse was at any risk. "The people on Whistler did a good job pulling back the baseboard and using their extinguishers. By the time we got to the scene, there was really nothing left to do but make sure that the fire was out."
The cause of the fire has been attributed to a heat tracing wire, which is used to keep the porch clear of snow and ice. An investigation is underway to determine if the fire was the result of a faulty installation, or a faulty wire.
Playfair estimates that the total damage to the Roundhouse is less than $2,000 to replace the wire and fix cosmetic damage to the building if the installation is found to be at fault. If the wire is found to be responsible it could cost Whistler-Blackcomb as much as $10,000 to replace all heat tracing wire throughout the building.
The Whistler-Blackcomb ski area falls outside of the Whistler Fire Department and the municipal boundaries, and therefore the company is responsible for handling its own fire fighting.