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a beautiful photo of the charleston residence composed of orange hued logs with pine trees in the foreground and a blue sky above
Charleston Residence | Facebook

No One Does Community Better Than Albertans

A massive fire at the Charleston Residence in Lake Louise has spurred neighbours to open their wallets to help replace lost items

On Monday, the Charleston Residence was set ablaze by 40-year Timothy Alexander Peterson from Lake Louise. He has since been charged with arson with disregard for human life and possession of a weapon. 

The Charleston Residence, referred to as Chucktown by locals, is one of the largest log buildings in the world and the largest in North America. 

At almost 10,000 square feet, the Charleston Residence is a three-story building that houses just under 400 employees that operate the nearby ski hill. 

After being consumed by flames, the monument of a building was declared a total loss.

a photo of the charred remains of the charleston resident with a flame still burning
A fire burning within the charred remains of the Charleston Residence in Lake Louise | CTV News

But Albertans have wasted no time setting up GoFundMe campaigns and community donation drives to support the hundreds of staff displaced by the fire. 

Hailing from Pickering, Ontario, Michelle Little has a heart as big as any Albertan. She has set up a GoFundMe account for family and friends, including her niece, who lost their belongings in the fire. 

“My niece just moved in and was one of the first to discover the fire, pulled the alarm, and went across the road to get help from the RCMP,” Little told Rocky Mountain Outlook.

While everyone was able to evacuate safely, Little pointed out that many of the staff were international and lost their passports and work visas in the fire. 

If you have ever had to replace a lost, stolen, or damaged piece of government ID, you would know that the process is frustrating and incredibly expensive. 

Thankfully, in collaboration with community organizers, the Banff Canmore Community Foundation (BCCF) has created the Bow Valley Emergency Fund to raise funds for staff. 

“Many people have lost all their belongings and are now facing a dire housing situation amidst an already very complicated community housing crisis,” commented the BCCF.

Staff are seeing support from the community, including Mount Norquay ski resort and Canmore’s Le fournil Bakery. Both establishments ask for donations, such as clothing, bedding, and toiletries. 

A clothing drive bin has also been set up in the Wilson Room of the Lake Louise Inn.

“Many workers have lost all their belongings – clothing, paperwork, gear, memories, etc. – and they’re still waiting for answers and to see what’s next,” posted the Le fournil Bakery on Instagram.

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