Fire at Historic Many Glacier Chalet at Glacier National Park
On the afternoon of Sunday, May 3, 2009, rangers at Glacier National Park received a report of smoke coming from the historic Many Glacier Chalet at Glacier National Park. The building, also known as the winter caretaker’s residence, is not the same structure as the magnificent Many Glacier Hotel, which is located nearby.
According to a report from the park,
The fire was reported by a concession employee who is currently residing at the chalet. Upon arrival, rangers saw smoke coming out of the back door. They interviewed the resident and determined that there were no injuries and that no one was left inside.
The Babb Volunteer Fire Department arrived and firefighters entered the structure wearing self contained breathing apparatus with a charged line. They quickly contained the fire to one room and extinguished the blaze. One room in the chalet was damaged by flames; a damage estimate is pending.
An FBI fire investigator has been contacted and will investigate the fire’s origin. Without the assistance of the Babb VFD, the chalet would most likely have been destroyed. Chief Mountain District ranger John Piastuck served as the park incident commander and is coordinating the investigation and follow-up.
The caretaker cabin is one of two remaining buildings left from the Many Glacier Chalets that were built by the Great Northern Railway in 1913, prior to construction of the Many Glacier Hotel. The Many Glacier Historic District was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.
To the extent that the timing of a fire can be said to be fortuitous, it's probably a good thing this same incident didn't occur less than a week ago, when a major spring snowstorm dumped several feet of snow on the area, making travel very difficult.