Fire closes Calabogie Peaks Resort

Calabogie -- A fire in the pumphouse at Calabogie Peaks Resort was not what was anticipated for the Christmas/New Year’s break, but on Tuesday morning fire broke out resulting in the ski hill being forced to close.

The fire in the pumphouse, which houses snow-making equipment, was brought under control by firefighters and there were no injuries reported, although the building was totally destroyed. No other structures were affected by the fire.

Calabogie Peaks is a major resort in the Ottawa Valley and a popular destination for skiing. The last few years have been challenging with closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the weather is always a factor for ski resorts as well. However, on Tuesday there was still snow cover on the ground and the facility open for business on Wednesday.

Peaks owner Paul Murphy said the cause of the fire is a bit of a mystery as the snow-making equipment is located on the west side of the building and the fire started in the east side e of the structure where there is no electrical equipment. While several days of mild weather and rain melted most of the snow received prior to Christmas, there was still enough snow to keep several runs at the hill open.

Mr. Murphy said until they can get a temporary pumphouse built and acquire new or refurbished equipment, they will have to depend on Mother Nature.

The fire was reported in the pre-dawn hours. No one was inside the building when the fire broke out and the cause remains unknown.

Firefighters were on scene at about 7 a.m. with both the Calabogie and Griffith stations of the Greater Madawaska Fire Department responding. When they arrived on the scene, the building was fully engulfed and mutual aid from the McNab Braeside Fire Department was requested. According to a release from the township, the departments worked quickly to ensure the fire did not spread to any other buildings.

Greater Madawaska Fire Chief Chris Peters extended his appreciation to the McNab Braeside Fire Department, Ontario Provincial Police and County of Renfrew Paramedic Service which provided support during this fire incident, as well as the Township’s Public Works Department.

Mayor Rob Weir and Councillor Rob Tripp were on site during the fire.

“Calabogie Peaks suffered a significant loss this morning and hopefully they will be operational in the near future. I would like to extend my gratitude to the McNab Braeside Fire Department, OPP, Renfrew County Paramedics and our Public Works Department for aiding with this large fire incident,” the mayor said. “I would also like to commend the professionalism of all who assisted. I would like to extend a special thanks to Charbonneau’s for their support of food and beverages. Finally, I would like to extend my appreciation to the fire department for its quick response to contain the fire. “

Members of the McNab Braeside Fire Department returned to their station at about 8:30 and the Greater Madawaska Fire Department remained on scene to douse hot spots.

A release from Calabogie Peaks on Tuesday morning noted the plan was to reopen Wednesday.

“The recent fire to our pumphouse did not affect our lifts or our ski lodge operations,” the release noted. “We hope to reopen tomorrow.”

There was a similar fire at the pumphouse in November 2013.

Debbi Christinck, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader