Major fire at Kirkwood ski resort destroys only source of power

Posted By: The Ski Channel on January 2, 2010 4:14 pm

On New Year’s Day, a massive fire at the Kirkwood Ski Resort in Kirkwood, California, destroyed the resort’s only source of power.

At about 2PM on Friday afternoon, the six giant diesel generators that power the resort caught fire when one of the engine’s exhaust mufflers overheated. This ignited the roof and then the other machines.

Luckily, no one was injured in the fire, but as of this afternoon, the entire resort is still without electricity. The ski lifts, commercial buildings, residential buildings and restaurants in the area are all without power. Senior vice president of the resort, Tim Cohee expects the fire to cost the resort about $6 or $7 million in property damage and lost revenue. “You’ve got these people who took time off and were on vacation to enjoy the snow, which has been so incredible,” Cohee said. “To have the loss of a day is just terrible.”

At some point, Kirkwood hopes to connect to Pacific Gas & Electric’s power grid in the region. The downside with that is that power lines would have to buried in federally owned forest land–this issue is currently under environmental review. If this were to happen, Cohee says, the diesel generators can be used only as backup power sources.

Because the resort is still without power, the 400-500 guests still there were treated to free meals and Snow Cat tours.