Avalon Resort has set an ambitious plan to have some lodge amenities destroyed in a New Year’s Eve fire back in operation by Valentine’s Day.
“We will continue to make plans for the new and improved Avalon while enjoying the now,” Operations Manager Julie Kidwell posted on Facebook. She specifically mentioned reopening the indoor pool and the “nudsino” — the clothing-optional resort’s gaming area.
Those were among the least damaged from a roof fire that was called in around 2:45 p.m. Dec. 31. Winds whipped the flames along the roofline, creating a huge challenge for the Slanesville and Paw Paw crews responding.
“When the first unit arrived part of the roof had collapsed over the kitchen and dining hall,” Slanesville Assistant Fire Chief Brent Swisher said. “Wind was taking it straight down the roofline toward the other end of the building.”
At that point Great Cacapon’s fire squad rode to the rescue.
“Their guys were awesome,” Swisher said. “They put the stick (ladder) up in the air and cut the fire off and we were able to get it slowed down then.”
Water had to be tanked in to douse the conflagration that lit up the countryside as evening settled in.
Swisher said the lodge was roughly 75 by 300 feet. The outdoor swimming pool and barn were untouched by the blaze, the resort reported when it announced its temporary closing.
“It was one of the bigger fires we’ve fought in Hampshire County,” he said.
By the time the last crew left the scene around 9:30 p.m., fire companies from Slanesville, Levels, Springfield Valley and Capon Bridge in Hampshire County had joined the fight along with Paw Paw, Great Cacapon and Berkeley Springs in Morgan County; Ridgeley in Mineral County; Reynolds Store and Gainesboro in Frederick County, Va.; and Old Town in Allegany County, Md. The Augusta Rescue and Hampshire County’s paid EMS were also on the scene.
“Everybody worked really well together,” Swisher praised. “We were fortunate to save what we did with what we faced when we got there.”
The fire was apparently started by an electrical malfunction. It is not considered a suspicious fire.
Nobody was injured.
The 140-acre resort off Critton Owl Hollow Road between Slanesville and Paw Paw has condominiums, campsites and places for camping trailers. Its website said it will reopen to guests Valentine’s weekend — “minus the lodge, of course.”