Fire destroys Ben Lomond Alpine Hotel, day shelter

Ben Lomond is without basic amenities and shelter after a fire destroyed two buildings at the village on Tuesday night. 

The Ben Lomond Alpine Hotel was reduced to rubble and the Parks and Wildlife Service day shelter gutted, causing more than $1 million damage. 

Parks and Wildlife Service northern regional manager Chris Colley said the fire had significant impact on some services at the national park. 

“The shelter used to house the public toilets and the current closure means that no public toilet facilities are available at the ski field,” he said.

“We recognise the importance of the shelter and toilets to the public during the snow season and we will be looking at options to restore these essential facilities as soon as possible.”

Closure of the day shelter means the closest public toilets are located at the Ben Lomond campground, eight kilometres from the ski village.

Mr Colley said parks was working with the hotel owners to get the business back up and running.

“We have had preliminary discussions with the operators and will be liaising with them further to see how we can support them being operational again as soon as possible,” he said.

Tasmania Fire Service fire investigation officer David Casteller said the timing of the fire was particularly devastating for the owners because it was forecast to be a good ski season.

One of the hotel’s owners alerted emergency services of the fire at 10.20pm.

Heavy tankers from Blessington, Evandale, Prospect and Ravenswood responded. Due to travel time up the mountain, it took crews about 20 minutes to arrive. 

Mr Casteller said crews discovered asbestos sheeting and a lot of treated pine around the hotel. 

“We’ve detailed our crews to be aware of the potential asbestos contamination, and also treated pine does produce a nasty gas,” he said. 

It is a great loss to the Ben Lomond ski park.

David Downie

Firefighters contained the asbestos to the site, and Mr Casteller said there was no risk of the contamination spreading.

It took firefighters about three hours to contain the blaze. 

More than 12 hours after the initial call for help, firefighters were still working to extinguish spot fires. 

The facade of the shelter area which leads into the hotel remained standing, but the hotel had been reduced to rubble. 

Northern Midlands mayor David Downie said the hotel was pivotal to the site. 

“It is a great loss to the Ben Lomond ski park,” he said. 

“I know that there is a renewed interest in further developing the facilities up there and the hotel is an important part of that infrastructure.”

The cause of the fire is not yet known, but investigations are continuing.

For information about closures or changes, visit the Parks and Wildlife Service website.