North

Tour bus carrying VIPs catches fire on popular Yukon lookout

The bus was parked on top of the Midnight Dome in Dawson City, Yukon when it began burning. Nobody was hurt or lost any belongings.

The bus was parked on top of the Midnight Dome in Dawson City

The passengers were outside of the bus and taking in the spectacular views of Dawson City and the Yukon River valley when it caught fire. (Submitted by Corey Cartwright)

A tour bus carrying visiting foreign ambassadors was destroyed by fire on Dawson City's Midnight Dome on Monday.

The Dome is a popular stop for visitors to the Klondike region. It overlooks Dawson City, the Yukon River valley and surrounding mountains.

Dave Millar, the operator of Goldbottom Tours, said two of his buses took a group, including ambassadors based in Ottawa, to the top of the Dome.

The tour bus caught fire while it was parked at the Midnight Dome lookout in Dawson City, Yukon. (Submitted by Corey Cartwright)

Millar said after the buses parked and the visitors got out, one of the vehicles began burning. He said there were no injuries and nobody lost any belongings.

Millar assumes the engine caught on fire, but he doesn't know the cause.

He praised staff members at the scene for their handling of the situation. They had a fire extinguisher, but it was not enough to stop the blaze.

Dawson City's fire chief Jim Regimbal said the fire department received the call about 3 p.m. and was on the scene a short time later.

He said vehicle fires at the lookout are an occasional occurrence because of the long steep climb up the Dome Road.

"When it's hot, the sun's right, for lack of a better word, the air mixture is right — it does happen," he said.

Dave Millar, the owner of the bus, isn't sure what started the blaze. (Submitted by Corey Cartwright)

The fire chief said he's still investigating the cause, but believes it started in the engine compartment and was accidental.

Regimbal said both the tour staff and the firefighters were calm and professional throughout the incident. He said he sometimes forgets how good the volunteer firefighters are.

"A few times I was just in awe, standing back in command, looking how everything had fallen in place. So, the hard work and the training that the members do on this volunteer department — it's mindblowing."

Millar said the burned-out wreck has been moved from the lookout.

He added it's a trip the ambassadors are unlikely to forget.

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