The Charleston Residence, an employee housing complex at Lake Louise Ski Resort also known as “Chuck Town” burned to the ground on July 3rd, leaving 165 tenants without a home. The fire started in the afternoon and quickly spread throughout the building, which eventually collapsed in on itself as it was reduced to rubble.
Many of the 165 residents of the building lost everything, including several workers from overseas who are now without their passports and visas. Australian Gigi Harris says in an interview with globalnews.ca, “You don’t know how to feel, everything you thought was yours is gone in a matter of hours.”
Fortunately, nobody was killed in the fire, though it is now the center of a criminal investigation. At the time of the fire, there was a man on the roof holding a knife, who we now know to be 40-year-old Timothy Alexander Peterson. First responders de-escalated the situation and the man climbed down a ladder, but stumbled on the descent and suffered non-life-threatening injuries which placed him in a Calgary hospital. Peterson was charged with arson and possession of a weapon. He remains in custody until his appearance in court on Friday, June 7.
Meanwhile, temporary housing is being evaluated by the city of Lake Louise, an especially difficult task for an area notoriously tight on accommodation. Residents are currently spread across local hotels and friend’s couches in the area, though an official plan has not yet been decided. Options discussed include temporary RVs and mobile homes, but the resort may even have to send workers to the nearest city, Calgary, which is an approximate two-hour car ride from their old residence.