Fire destroys Finland’s oldest on-piste ski restaurant at Ruka resort
No casualties in overnight fire, but restaurant itself burns to foundations. Only some office equipment is rescued from the flames.
A piece of Finnish skiing history burned to ashes when the country’s oldest on-piste restaurant, the SkiBistro at the Ruka ski resort, was totally destroyed by a fire on the night between Saturday and Sunday.
“We have been contacted by customers, who say that they have been coming to dine at the restaurant for years in connection with their winter holidays”, explains Rukakeskus Oy managing director Matti Parviainen.
From the business perspective, the fire happened at the worst possible time, for the busiest season of the winter with the school children’s ski holidays is about to start.
“We do have ten more restaurants here at Ruka, so there is still food and drinks available. But this was the establishment closest to the slopes”, Parviainen shakes his head in disappointment.
The fire razed the three-storey timber-framed SkiBistro building down to its foundations. Fortunately nobody was injured in the blaze, for at the moment when the fire broke out the restaurant was closed. According to Parviainen, the damage caused runs to the region of EUR 3 to 4 million.
According to the fire-chief-on-duty Kimmo Määttä, the cause of the fire is so far unknown. The police began their investigation into the accident on Sunday.
In Määttä’s opinion it looks as if the fire had started from the area of the restaurant’s liquor storage. Also, an automatic burglar alarm was set off near the storage before the fire department was alerted to the blaze.
“There is no reason to assume, however, that someone would have been inside the storage to trigger off the alarm”, Määttä explains. “The fire may simply have caused the alarm to go off.”
According to Määttä, all the possible causes have to be investigated. At the northern end of the building, from where the fire is believed to have broken out, there was a lot of electrical equipment.
“A tiny section of the southern end of the structure remained sufficiently intact for us to save some office material and equipment from there”, Määttä describes.
The Ruka SkiBistro had an indoor seating area for 600 diners. The outdoor terrace accommodated a thousand customers, and was hugely popular during the spring skiing season.