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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

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

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Anti-racism rally in Chilliwack goes ahead, despite rumours of cancellation

Saturday’s rally of about 150 people was small compared to Friday’s march where hundreds showed up

PHOTOS: Chilliwack commemorates 76th anniversary of D-Day with small but significant ceremony

Two wreaths were laid at the quiet ceremony attended by about 25 people in Sardis

PHOTOS w/ VIDEO: Peaceful Black Lives Matter march and rally in Chilliwack

Youth-led march down Yale Road followed by passionate speeches at Central Community Park

Hundreds fill Chilliwack streets for Black Lives Matter march

‘Canada has a problem too,’ reads at least one protester’s sign

Chilliwack RCMP heard gunfire en route to suspicous activity

Chilliwack man, 42, sent to hospital after shooting, RCMP have confirmed

Trudeau offers $14B to provinces for anti-COVID-19 efforts through rest of year

Making a difference in municipalities is a pricey proposition

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

New platform allows readers to make a one-time or ongoing donation to support local journalism

‘Like finding a needle in a haystack’: Ancient arrowhead discovered near Williams Lake

The artifact is believed to be from the Nesikip period between 7,500 BP to 6,000 BP

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

Friends, family mourn Salt Spring Island woman killed in suspected murder-suicide

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched for Jennifer Quesnel’s three sons

Run for Water: Abbotsford man raises $100,000 running 100-mile marathon

Kevin Barata ran up and down Ledgeview Trails 32 times, exceeding elevation of Mt. Everest

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Indigenous chief alleges RCMP beat him during arrest that began over expired licence plate

Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam calling for independent investigation

Most Read