Fire destroys Panorama condos

Panorama Mountain Village is mopping up after a large fire tore through a lodge at the ski hill near Invermere early Wednesday.

The aftermath of the fire that destroyed a floor of condos at Panorama Resort.

The aftermath of the fire that destroyed a floor of condos at Panorama Resort.

Panorama Mountain Village is mopping up after a large fire tore through a lodge at the ski hill near Invermere early Wednesday.

A fire started around 1 a.m. February 27 on the top floor of 1000 Peaks Lodge at Panorama.

There were people staying in the five-storey complex at the time, but all managed to evacuate to Panorama’s Great Hall. All known occupants of the complex have been accounted for, with no reported injuries.

Between 10 and 12 units in the lodge were destroyed in the fire, according to Jim Miller, Columbia Valley Rural Fire and Rescue Service Chief.

“The top floor of the complex has been destroyed by the fire,” said Miller. “There is also some fire damage to the fourth floor and the rest of the building has sustained extensive water damage.”

Panorama, Windermere and Invermere fire departments all responded to the blaze Wednesday morning, with 27 firefighters on scene at the peak of the blaze.

Due to the collapsed roof and water damage throughout the lodge, firefighters can no longer safely enter the complex.

Some crew remained on the scene throughout Wednesday as hot spots continued to flare up.

“The skeleton crew will remain in place for the rest of the day (Wednesday) and we have 24-hour security established around the builder,” said Miller. “We will be back on site tomorrow to re-evaluate the damage and determine whether access is possible.”

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

“This is a large building and this could have become a much larger fire if it weren’t for the swift response and hard work of the firefighters on scene,” said Miller.

It is the second condo fire at Panorama Mountain Village in five years. In June 2008, 16 condos were destroyed in a huge blaze at the Horsethief complex.