Dry Hill Ski Area Fire 'Most Devastating' Thing To Happen To Own

Dry Hill Ski Area Fire 'Most Devastating' Thing To Happen To Owner

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The owner of Dry Hill Ski Area says it's the "most devastating" thing he's ever had happen to him in his decades of owning the business.

Fire destroyed a pump house Tuesday afternoon at the ski area in the town of Watertown.

The pump house is used to make the hill's snowmakers work. The building siphons water from a pond, runs it up the ski slope and feeds the snowmaker machinery.

Owner Tim McAtee says the loss is the worst thing to happen to him in his 38 years of owning Dry Hill Ski Area.

"Without snowmaking, it's kind of tough to run a ski area," he said.

He also says the pump house is partially insured.

Volunteers from Town of Watertown and Rutland fire departments responded to the scene. The blaze caused a number of small explosions before firefighters were able to douse the flames.

"My guess is probably our pump is gone and that'll mean finding a new pump, possibly a new building, rebuilding, re-plumbing. Right at this moment, don't really know the extent," said McAtee.

The fire may have started with an electrical issue, but it's not clear.

Ironically, McAtee says almost all of the electrical work in the pump house was redone three years ago.

It could be a while before Dry Hill is able to replace its pump and begin making snow again. That does not, however, mean the ski area will have to close.

"I'm sure we'll figure out a way around it and, hopefully, maybe we'll still have some skiing this weekend if it snows on Thursday," said McAtee.

McAtee says it'll probably take 3 to 6 inches of snow to open this weekend.

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