Fire destroys cabin at Presbyterian conference center |

Fire destroys cabin at Presbyterian conference center

Jeff Munson
Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune / A Tahoe Douglas firefighter douses the smoldering remains of a cabin at the Presbyterian Conference Grounds on Monday.

Investigators continue to look into what caused a fire that destroyed a decades-old vacation cabin at Zephyr Point Presbyterian Conference Center early Monday morning.

The three bedroom, 1,200-square-foot cabin was vacant at the time of the fire, initially reported to Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District at 6:40 a.m. as a wildland fire. No one was injured.

Despite having to lug about 600 feet of hose from the nearest hydrant, firefighters doused the flames and knocked down the blaze in about 20 minutes, including some vegetation that caught on fire, said Tahoe Douglas Assistant Fire Chief Van Ogami.

“We are so grateful for an outstanding fire department who contained it in no time,” said Janet Leader, associate director of the conference center.

It is the first known fire in the complex in more than 20 years.

It will take at least a few days to determine the value put on the unit, which is part of a 40-cabin complex owned since 1925 by the Presbyterian Church, Leader said.

The conference center was booked to near capacity over the weekend with various church groups. Staying at the cabin this weekend was a church group from Sacramento who booked it and others during a men’s retreat, Leader said. After the group left, a housekeeping crew cleaned the cabin on Sunday and reported no problems.

“We have no idea what happened. The staff did a normal afternoon check and did those things we do for fall like close the windows and turn down the heat,” she said of the cabin, which sleeps about six people and has a fairly large living room quarters and a deck.

The fire district continues to investigate the fire’s origin. On Monday afternoon, wind gusts caused worries over a flare-up. Remnants of the fire began to smoke and there was concern that embers could fly into nearby trees in the heavily forested complex. A fire crew returned to the scene and doused the remaining hot spots.

After the cause of the fire is determined, Leader said a report would be made to the conference center board of directors about what to do next. Over the past two years the complex has razed some cabins and replaced them with new ones after permits were squared away, Leader said.

Fire hydrants have been installed around the replacement cabins. Since the cabin is probably about 50 years old, it didn’t have a nearby fire hydrant. A hydrant will be installed close to the cabin once a rebuild of the site is approved, Leader said.

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