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SAM Magazine—Alberta, Canada, July 5, 2023—Summer operations at Lake Louise Ski Resort are shut down until further notice and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) have arrested and charged a 40-year-old man with arson after a fire on July 3 destroyed a 100,000 square-foot building that houses hundreds of resort staff. Charleston Residence

About 160 employees were housed in the three-story Charleston Residence log building at the time of the fire. There were no fatalities but the National Post reported that one person was taken to the hospital and was in serious but stable condition at press time.

Dan Markham, communications director at Lake Louise told SAM there were counsellors on-site to help those affected cope with the situation.

“At this point in time, all summer operations have ceased,” said Markham. “Our intention is to get our staff settled, and then we'll re-evaluate potentially reopening for the rest of the summer. No date has been set. Our biggest priority was to make sure that all of the staff and residences were safe and that they had a place to stay." 

Police, local fire departments, and EMS responded to the blaze at around noon and found the man standing on the roof of the building with an undisclosed weapon, according to the RCMP. 

“Officers deescalated the situation and convinced the male to come down a ladder, however, he slipped and fell to the ground,” RCMP said in a statement.

Following an investigation by the Southern Alberta District General Investigation Section, Timothy Alexander Peterson, 40, has been charged with arson with disregard for human life and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose. He is scheduled to appear in the Alberta Court of Justice in Calgary on Friday, July 7.

Buses transported the affected residents from the scene of the fire to a meeting point at the ski area. Displaced employees were put in temporary accommodations at the Fairmont Lake Louise and the Lake Louise Inn.

Lake Louise Ski Resort attracts thousands of summer travelers with its sightseeing gondola rides and on-mountain dining options and is considered a top attraction in Banff National Park.

A message on the resort’s Facebook page stated, “We cannot express enough heartfelt gratitude to the community for the incredible support and donations following the recent fire… We have been able to provide immediate assistance to those affected by the fire… As people transition into their next housing and require further items, we will advise where donations can be brought, or arrange for pickup.” 

A Bow Valley Emergency Fund has been set up by the Banff Canmore Community Foundation, with proceeds designated to assist the needs of the employees. 

“Financial support will play a vital role in the community’s long-term recovery efforts, ensuring resources are directed where they are most needed by those displaced,” the Facebook post concluded.

The Charleston Residence houses as many as 400 employees during the winter season.