Blaze at Kirkwood resort caused by engine exhaust |

Blaze at Kirkwood resort caused by engine exhaust

Gregory Crofton

Portable generators restored power to Kirkwood Mountain Resort late Monday morning after a fire in its powerhouse caused lights to go out and ski lifts to stop turning.

The fire, which started Sunday around noon, ignited because exhaust from one of the resort’s six diesel-fueled generators heated wood that was part of the powerhouse structure, said Tim Cohee, president of the resort. The fire burned into the roof of the building but spared the engines and other equipment inside.

“The damage is not near as bad as anyone thought,” Cohee said. “The engine was running fine. The wood simply had gotten hot too many times too often and lost its integrity.”

The building had been subjected to regular fire inspections this year and in past years. Damage caused by the fire is unknown but it will cost at least $100,000, Cohee said.

On Tuesday morning, Cohee awaited the arrival of a third portable generator. The three generators will provide an ample amount of power for the resort and 600 houses and condominiums in the valley, Cohee said.

The generators will be used until a temporary roof is installed on the powerhouse and its engines can be restarted. Construction of the temporary roof is scheduled to start today and be finished before Christmas. A permanent roof will be built in the summer.

The resort will be open for business for the Veteran’s Day weekend – Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday – as planned. Daily operation of the mountain is scheduled to start November 20.

“The resort has restored 100 percent of its capability for power so there will be no lag in operations,” Cohee said. “It could not go any better than it has. The building inspector, the fire insurance inspectors, the air board, the local fire department, the county and the staff have all done a fantastic job.”

– Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or by e-mail at

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