A July 28 fire that damaged the historic Brooks Lake Lodge started because an ember escaped the fireplace, state fire investigator Eric Siwik determined.
The ember ignited roofing material and insulation material, leading to the blaze that damaged the ceiling and roof of the 98-year-old Togwotee Pass lodge’s “tea room” and dining room.
Siwik said that as he surveyed the damage and interviewed witnesses, he pinned down the roof as the area of origin of the fire.
“As we continued on with the investigation we ruled out causes associated with electrical failures and things of that nature and came to the conclusion of the fireplace,” Siwik said.
Siwik reminded residents to have fireplaces inspected and cleaned on a regular basis.
The causes of two other fires in the Jackson Hole area — at downtown Jackson’s Cafe Genevieve on July 2 and at the White Pine Ski Resort lodge on July 12 — are still under investigation by the state fire marshal’s office, Siwik said. The investigation of the fire at Cafe Genevieve required sending kitchen rags to a lab for testing. Investigators say there’s no connection between the three July fires.
The White Pine resort was destroyed in its fire. Cafe Genevieve suffered damage only in the back part of the building, but the restaurant remains closed.
Brooks Lake Lodge manager Adam Long reported the fire at 2:32 a.m. July 28 after waking up with a weird feeling something was wrong.
Firefighters from Dubois and Fremont County responded quickly and extinguished the blaze before it could spread to other areas of the lodge. No employees or guests were injured, and the resort remained open.
Built in 1922 and originally named the Two-Gwo-Tee Inn, Brooks Lake Lodge is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.