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Whitecap Mountains Resort Staff Remains Positive Following Resort Fire

WDIO
Updated: January 20, 2019 04:15 PM

Whitecap Mountains Resort has been staying positive and optimistic despite the damage a fire caused to their main lodge on Friday. 

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On Sunday, Whitecap posted the following on Facebook:

"As devastating as the fire was, as much of a nightmare as it was, the staff of Whitecap has been incredibly positive. Attitudes are still friendly, upbeat and everyone is pitching in to help navigate this situation without question. Whitecap management cannot thank the employees and other department heads enough. The support from our guests and local community continues to be amazing.
There are no words to express our deep appreciation to everyone."

Whitecap also said Hobby Wheel, a ski and snowboard shop, is welcoming Whitecap skiers and snowboarders for rentals since Whitecap is currently unable to rent out equipment for guests. 

Operations continue at a ski resport in Upson, Wisconsin, after a fire damaged the main lodge Friday night. 

According to authorities, at approximately 4:18 pm, Friday, a report of a fire at the Whitecap Mountains Ski Area was made to the Iron County Sheriff's Department. 

"A total of nine area fire departments responded with tanker trucks," Paul Samardich, the sheriff for Iron County, said. Samardich also said over 50 firefighters and deputies were on scene until 3 a.m. 

"You couldn't really get a feel for how bad it was until we pulled up and saw the building was still smoking," Nicole Allen, a guest at Whitecap Mountains Resort, said.

The Town of Anderson Fire Department responded to the scene and several area fire departments assisted with the fire suppression efforts. Those departments include the City of Montreal, City of Hurley, Town of Kimball, Town of Oma, City of Mellen, Saxon/Gurney, Ironwood Township and Bessemer Township.

"Smoke was detected in Bernie's lounge, which is the second floor. It was under renovation and they believe it was a chimney fire," Summer White Eagle, a marketing director for Whitecap Mountains Resort, said. 

About 20 people were in the main lodge at the time of the incident. They were evacuated within minutes after the smoke was detected in the building.

The main lodge of the Whitecap Mountain Ski Area suffered major damage and the cause of the fire has not yet been determined, according to officials. 

Windy weather conditions Friday night caused the fire to spread throughout the recently renovated building.

Authorities report that no injuries were sustained as a result of the blaze.

On Friday, Whitecap posted the following on Facebook:

Unfortunately, we had a major fire today at the main lodge. All staff and guests are safe. Private homes in the village and the hotel are safe, but are currently without power. We will update as more information becomes available. Thank you for all the kind words of support! We will rebuild! #whitecapstrong

"Last time I was here, it was in the late 80's. I was coming up here for the first time to bring my family. I've been looking forward to all the changes that they made," Allen said.

After almost 24 hours after the fire occurred, smoke was still coming out of the building and the resort smelled like smoke.

On Saturday, the Whitecap Mountains Resort posted on Facebook that the slopes are still open and the lifts are running. 

They also thanked everyone for their well wishes and support.

"The principal owner's phone has been going off nonstop. People have sent out deliveries, donations, messages, and equipment. The community has been really supportive," White Eagle said. 

"We wanted to support what they were doing here. Hopefully more people keep coming here despite the lodge. They really have everything organized in the hotel," Allen said.

Operations will run from the resort's hotel temporarily while the main lodge gets rebuilt. Everyone is advised to check in at the hotel. The resort is currently unable to provide rental equipment. 

A sense of relief and optimism was felt in the ski resort Saturday after going through a scary experience that could have ended much worse.

"With the amount of people here and the size of the fire, it's just amazing that there was no loss of life, especially no injuries," Samardich said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. 

To stay updated on the operations of the resort, go to the Whitecap Mountains Resort Facebook Page.

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