Alex B. Taylor says he was casually strolling through Whistler Village on Saturday morning when he noticed a bit of smoke emanating from the Tyndall Stone Lodge.
"The shocking thing was how quickly it turned from 'oh, there's a bit of smoke,' to 'oh, the whole building is on fire.' You know, 30 or 40 metres of the whole roof, it just went like this so quickly. It was surprising," Taylor told CBC News.
According to Whistler asst. fire Chief Sheila Kirkwood, the fire on Saturday was caused by ‘hot spot’ remaining in an attic space after a larger fire on Friday afternoon burned a second story balcony and damaged surrounding areas of the building.
Crews responded to the Friday afternoon fire at about 4:30 p.m. PT and managed to extinguish the blaze before it spread. Eight people had to be relocated to a hotel in the village.
Kirkwood says the fire is still under investigation, but early indications suggest a construction crew was using work torches on the balcony, as the building is currently under renovation. There was no sprinkler head installed on the balcony.
Kirkwood says that several fires have been started on balconies in Whistler in the past year alone, and suggests all condo owners retrofit their sprinkler systems to cover balconies.
Ground floor businesses in the building are closed for repairs, and the fire investigation is expected to take until Monday.