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Dozen skiers evacuated from chair lift after fire at Apex Mountain Resort
A dozen skiers were left dangling for about an hour after an engine fire on the triple chair lift at Apex Mountain Resort on Monday.
"There was an engine fire at the top of the triple about 12:10 p.m. on Monday afternoon so we had to do a lift evacuation," said James Shalman, Apex Mountain Resort general manager. "Everyone was safely evacuated off the lift and the 12 people who were taken off actually went on to ski the rest of the day."
Shalman said there were no injuries and it being a sunny day the temperature was about 2 C while the dozen skiers sat on the lift waiting for their turn to be evacuated.
"The longest someone was up there was maybe an hour or just under," said Shalman, who added the ski patrol used a chair and harness system to bring the stranded skiers back to the ground.
The lift attendee first noticed the smoke and flames coming from the engine building room at the top of the lift and heard the fire alarm. They notified the ski patrol. Shalman said the patrol and lift maintenance staff fought the fire and started the evacuation immediately. The Apex general manager said a fire such as this one is out of the ordinary, but lift evacuation is something they practice routinely .
"No, we definitely do not see this happen often. It probably has been over 20 years since we have done a lift evacuation that wasn't a training procedure. It is a very rare occurrence to have happened," said Shalman.
The triple-chair will remain closed for the remainder of the year, but Shalman said he expects it to be back in operation after repairs next season. Apex Mountain Resort closes for the season on Sunday and they are offering 25 per cent off full day and half day tickets in their remaining week. The T-bar will be operating in addition to the high-speed detachable quad and magic carpet lift on Saturday and Sunday.