Jackson Hole, WY – Solitude Cabin, a slope-side dining cabin at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, was severely damaged in an explosion last weekend after a propane gas leak combusted in the wooden structure, fire officials said.
The explosion was caused by gas leaking from a regulator on a propane line connected to the cabin, which cracked under the weight of heavy snow falling from the buildings roof, according to an investigation conducted by the Teton County Fire Department and JHMR.
Propane leaked into the building and, being heavier than air, settled in the basement, where it probably combusted with a lighted pilot light, said Jon Bishop, a risk-safety manager for JHMR.
No one was hurt in the accident, officials said.
The Village fire department responded around noon Saturday to reports of a loud, explosive sound and smoke coming from Solitude Cabin. Fire officials initially had difficulty getting to the structure because of its location on the mountain, which is still covered in deep snow.
Being on the hill, its not easy to get men or equipment up there after the [winter] season ends, Bishop said. Service roads at the JHMR are no longer snowplowed this late in the season, he added.
Responders with Teton Villages volunteer fire department were able to round up and use snowmobiles to reach the Solitude building, located on National Forest Land between the Bridger Gondola and Teewinot chairlift, near the base of the Sweetwater triple chair.
When firefighters arrived on the scene, the cabin was no longer smoking. Once inside, they found the building had sustained considerable damage.
Someone had been in Solitude Cabin as recently as Thursday, though Bishop said he was absolutely positive there was no gas leak at that time.
The best thing about propane is that awful smell they add to it – you cant mistake it, he said.
It has not yet been determined if the building will be renovated for next year or if damages were so extensive it would have to be razed and rebuilt, officials said.
Compared with other, more modern, on-mountain facilities, Solitude is a rustic, wooden dining cabin. The cabin is about 10 years old and was relocated from another slope-side location a few years ago.
During the winter seasons, JHMR brings guests to the dinning cabin via horse-drawn sleigh. Solitude Cabin guests order from a limited menu with a set price of $75 per adult before drinks, tip and taxes, according to the resorts website. The cabin also offered occasional live music.
Bishop said all other resort facilities have been deemed safe after being inspected for similar issues.
This is something weve never experienced before, he said. Were grateful no one was around or in the building.