VIDEO: B.C. woodcarver’s famous house destroyed by fire

Rolf Heer of Radium lost the Home of a Thousand Faces

The iconic home of a famed woodcarver in B.C.’s East Kootenay has been destroyed by fire.

Rolf Heer, in the community of Radium north of Invermere, was pulled safely out the Home of a Thousand Faces, as firefighters tried to fight off the encroaching flames.

The all-wood home has become a roadside attraction, surrounded by several life-sized wood carvings – many of them done with a chainsaw. It was even featured on an episode of the HGTV show, “Weird Homes.”

Heer suffers from terminal cancer and had put the home up for sale.

READ MORE: Woodcarver is as iconic as mountain sheep and hot springs

“Forty years of history down the drain,” he said, shivering in a fuzzy pink housecoat. “I don’t know how I’m going to handle this. I might be crying for three weeks.”

He said he had a fire outside the night before that must have gotten out of control.

Gary and Sherry Froescul of Sherwood Park, Alta., had driven past the home on Friday morning and noticed the flames. They drove to a Petro-Canada gas station where one of the employees called 911.

“Within five or 10 minutes, the whole thing was engulfed,” Gary said.

Heer lived in his showroom. For 40 years, he had welcomed residents and tourists into his home to see his wood carvings, play in his outdoor water park and feed the goats that lived on his roof.

Said Heer’s friend, Holly Hahn: “There was nothing like this in the world. I’m sad for all the children who used to come here.”

All that saved were a few paintings, his robes, a bit of cash and his prized wizard hats.

Heer was hoping to find a woodcarver to take over the business. He had no insurance.

He alternated between laughing and choking up as neighbours, friends, police and firefighters expressed their condolences, doled out hugs and brought him food.

But the beloved wizard was all smiles as he asked for a photo to capture the end of an era, going out with a blaze.

 

Firefighters work put out the blaze on what remains of the House of a 1,000 faces. Photo by Dauna Ditson

Just Posted

Nanaimo Fire Rescue lauds boys after rescue from cliffs

Nanaimo firefighters responded to call near Departure Bay Road Saturday afternoon

Coins converted to Christmas toys

Coins for Kids raising cash for Great Nanaimo Toy Drive, Boys and Girls Clubs

Nanaimo mayor wants B.C. to institutionalize severely mental ill people who are homeless

Those suffering from mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, need specialized care, mayor says

Lantzville, Snaw-Naw-As asking for lower speed limit on Island Highway

Safety concerns cited by municipal council and band council

UPDATED: Transportation Safety Board finishes work at plane crash site, investigation continues

Transport Canada provides information bulletin, family of victim releases statement

Apartment residents evacuated due to fire near downtown Nanaimo

Nanaimo Fire Rescue responded to structure fire on Prideaux Street around 1 p.m.

Sharks beat Canucks 4-2 to snap 6-game skid

Vancouver visits Vegas on Sunday

Fans sing Canadian anthem after sound system breaks at BMW IBSF World Cup

The Canadians in attendance made sure their team and flag were honoured on the podium

VIDEO: Fire destroys Big White Ski Resort chalet

Social media eulogies peg the property, nicknamed “The Pharamacy,” as both loved and hated

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Five things of note from Trudeau’s mandate letters to his ministers

Some marching orders come from the Liberal Party’s campaign, while others are new additions

Scheer’s resignation tips party into internal war over school tuition payments

The Conservatives have a Toronto convention already scheduled for April

Beefs & Bouquets, Dec. 12

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail bulletinboard@nanaimobulletin.com

Most Read