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Whistler Village fire sparks déjà vu

Purebread, other businesses hit with water damage

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A fire at the Tyndall Stone Lodge building in Whistler Village on the morning of Monday, Feb. 10 brought back some unsettling memories for Purebread owner Mark Lamming—more specifically, memories of a fire in the exact same building in 2013.

That blaze nearly seven years ago kept the bakery out of operation for a year.

"Your first thought is, you go back to what it was seven years ago and go, 'it can't be that bad again, surely,'" Lamming said. "So anything other than that is almost like a good thing."

Thankfully, the small fire on Feb. 10 amounted to some water damage but nothing too major, and Purebread is aiming to be open on Friday to serve the Family Day long weekend crowds.

In a striking coincidence, both the 2013 and 2020 fires occurred directly over Purebread (though the former was on the third floor, and caused by exterior construction work, and the latter on the second, and originating in the kitchen).

While an investigation is underway, Whistler Fire Rescue Service (WFRS) deputy chief Chris Nelson said it may have stemmed from an electrical issue with the microwave.

The call came in at about 9:20 a.m., and the unit was unoccupied at the time.

"This is pure speculation from my perspective, but it appears to be the microwave that started the fire ... not 100-per-cent sure, but I think in all likelihood that's where it started," Nelson said, adding that he has notified Technical Safety BC of his suspicions.

"But the sprinkler head did its job; it contained the fire."

In all, 10 residential units and six commercial units were affected, though a rep with WRM strata management, which oversees the property, couldn't provide many details beyond that, saying it's still early in the process.

Red Cross Emergency Social Services assisted two people with a hotel and food, and a few others with information, a spokesperson with the Resort Municipality of Whistler said.

"Many were visiting, so their priority was gaining access to their personal belongings ... it is highly likely there were others impacted, but they did not reach out to us for assistance," the spokesperson said.

The WFRS spoke with a number of people at the scene of the fire, Nelson said.

"Some of them are full-time renters, some of them are just coming here for a couple of days, one person was a month-long visit kind of thing—so there's varying tenants in there," he said.

"[The units] just need to be dried out ... I don't know how damaged the drywall is, and that sort of stuff, so I don't know how long they'll be out."

Nelson was also one of the WFRS members who responded to the 2013 fire in the same building.

"This one is completely unrelated. It's interior, it's a kitchen fire, and no one was home, so it was just a fluke," he said.

"We stopped as much as we could ... and I think [Purebread] will be back up and running hopefully sooner than later, but yeah, it's just horrible to have that happen to them twice in literally seven years."

Even in the immediate aftermath of the fire, Lamming was looking to the bright side.

"It's life. It seems to test you," he said.

"I'm just trying to look on the positive side; no one was hurt, and there's bigger things in life to worry about than this, and we'll just do what we can."

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