POLITICS

Fire confined to roof at iconic Jasper Park Lodge in Rocky Mountain

05/01/2012 08:59 EDT | Updated 07/01/2012 05:12 EDT
JASPER, Alta. - It's business as usual at an iconic Rocky Mountain lodge after a fire broke out on part of the roof.

Flames and smoke could be seen coming from the roof of the main lodge at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge on Tuesday afternoon.

General manager Markus Treppenhauer says it's believed a spark from the building's massive stone fireplace flew out onto the roof and started the blaze. No one was injured and damage was contained to a small portion of the roof.

He says he was in another building and ran out as soon as he heard the fire alarm.

When he saw flames coming from the roof, "it wasn't a great feeling."

"My first concern was for guests and colleagues and I ran into the main building while the fire was happening, but there was never a danger."

About 40 guests and 100 staff were in the building at the time, which houses the reception area, spa, fitness centre, meeting space, restaurants and shops, as well as 20 of the property's 400 guest rooms.

"There was an incredible amount of smoke," Treppenhauer said, adding the flames died down after about 30 minutes and were never seen inside the building itself.

The hotel has its own on-site fire department, but it also got help from the town of Jasper.

"Imagine four fire engines putting water on our roof — they emptied our pool within an hour, and you have hardly any water in the main lodge. Right now, you walk in, you wouldn't know we had a fire this afternoon."

It took a couple of hours to douse, and then staff started cleaning up. While dinner guests were moved to the golf course dining room Tuesday night, Treppenhauer says they should be able to get breakfast in the main lodge Wednesday, as well as all the other services offered there.

It's the second fire at Jasper Park Lodge in less than a year. In November, one of its cabins was badly damaged by fire and couldn't be salvaged.

The Stanley Thompson cabin, named after the lodge's golf course designer, had fire bedrooms, featured a stone fireplace and had clear views of the first fairway, Mount Edith Cavell, and wandering wildlife.

— By Mary Jo Laforest in Edmonton