Whitehorse Daily Star

‘Minor catastrophe’ of fire sees resort evacuated

After a full week of being open to the public, the new Eclipse Nordic Hot Springs facility was evacuated Monday afternoon after a fire broke out.

By Tim Giilck on May 17, 2022

After a full week of being open to the public, the new Eclipse Nordic Hot Springs facility was evacuated Monday afternoon after a fire broke out.

On its Facebook page, the facility wrote, “Today there was a fire in one of buildings. It is now out, the firefighters have dealt with it. No one was hurt.

“The majority of our business/buildings are OK. If you have made a reservation for the next week, we will be in contact with you soon.

“Please give us a few days to organize ourselves and we will rebook or refund everyone. We will resume operations soon. Thank you for understanding.”

The fire happened at about 3 p.m. Guests were removed from the facility as a precaution after smoke was detected emanating from one of the buildings.

The facility is outside city limits, but the Whitehorse Fire Department was called in to provide mutual aid, Chief Jason Everitt told the Star this morning.

“Our role was fairly minimal,” he said. “We were primarily providing tanker services.”

The Hootalinqua Fire Department, headquarted off the Mayo Road, was the first on the scene, and called for further support before long.

Eclipse president Garry Umbrich spoke to the Star this morning.

The Yukon Fire Marshal was on the scene and inspecting the damage, Umbrich said. He had just been on the phone to his insurance company, explaining the situation.

Until the fire marshal’s office completes the inspection, he said, he won’t speculate on the cause of the blaze.

It started in the attic of the main spa building housing the sauna facilities, Umbrich said.

There was initially no sign of smoke, but the fire alarm went off.

The building’s safety features kept the fire contained, he said.

“I would call it a minor catastrophe.”

There was no imminent threat to the guests.

They were allowed back in to their lockers to retrieve their belongings once it was clear the fire was contained.

They were then directed to muster points under the facility’s evacuation plan.

It did take “many hours” to extinguish the fire, Umbrich said.

He said the hot springs portion of the facility was untouched by the fire.

The facility should re-open within a week, Umbrich said, with the basic hot springs and pools ready for visitors. No spa services will be available.

Monday marked the eighth day the resort had been open after the multi-year, multimillion-dollar redeveopment project.

Attendance so far had been good, Umbrich said, with reservation-only bookings.

The new development was constructed on the site of the former Takhini Hot Springs.

Comments (19)

Up 1 Down 0

Mitch Holder on May 24, 2022 at 12:01 pm

"To all those people complaining about the cost for 'poor Yukoners,' all you have to do is forego your case of beer for the night and you'll be able to afford a dip at the new hot springs."

The typical sentiment of some idiot at YTG. Go take a long walk by the clay cliffs buddy. You are the only alcoholic rambling on here.

Up 0 Down 0

drum on May 23, 2022 at 10:42 pm

Where did the money come from? Was it investors or was it taxpayers money?

Up 7 Down 0

@Yukong on May 21, 2022 at 8:17 am on May 22, 2022 at 12:10 pm

You wrote: "all you have to do is forego your case of beer for the night and you'll be able to afford a dip at the new hot springs."
I agree with the second part, it is only a dip because the pools are now only 3 feet deep. Also last I checked a case of beer is enough for 2 or 3 people for the evening, unless we're talking binge drinking and also last I checked a case of beer wasn't $60 (yet).

Up 6 Down 9

Yukong on May 21, 2022 at 8:17 am

To all those people complaining about the cost for 'poor Yukoners,' all you have to do is forego your case of beer for the night and you'll be able to afford a dip at the new hot springs.

I know you'd rather sit around and complain though. Seems to be a favourite pastime for entitled Yukoners.

Up 7 Down 0

drum on May 20, 2022 at 7:13 pm

You are in agreement that Taxpayers support the drunks at the Shelter.
They destroy the facilities but still get three meals a day - how many times are the Paramedics there to look after creeps. Now we the taxpayers of the Yukon are having to pay for new siding.

Up 5 Down 4

Mitch Holder on May 20, 2022 at 4:08 pm

@ WOODCUTTER - I think you outclassed the entire forum, certainly me. There is a lot of anger in our community about how run down it is getting, I think it genuinely upset a lot of locals with decades of memories at this cherished landmark. I used to shoot gophers for Ron for 5 bucks a pop for the arcade and a hotdog or chili fries or that famous black forest cake. I frequented on my birthday for years and friends always had doubts before getting there, and thanks by the time they left. I will still make that journey, but the dynamic will not be the same with the children of family and friends omitted from these get-togethers.

Mr. Umbrich, with respect, perhaps in the future you would consider an extension on the entrance side of your estate to build a more inclusive facility separate from the rest of your venue to welcome the community in which you made this venture. I don't begrudge you, we just have so few amenities here, losing any makes one consider what sets this place apart from any other of hundreds of subarctic Canadian communities. I am glad fire services were quick and worked hard to ensure your preservation and we look forward to your return to operations for a grand summer.

Up 15 Down 9

woodcutter on May 19, 2022 at 2:18 pm

That didn't take long. Perhaps a safety inspection of the remaining structures is in order? It appears to be a fire trap if day 8 of operations is any indication.

As to the new hot springs design. Never seen it, however I wasn't a big fan of the old setup. I know family members that have children are bemoaning the fees and exclusion, but really who cares?
Look some folks don't like children, judging from the response seen here. Perhaps your parents did a crap job themselves, that created so much dislike.

Myself, this place is irrelevant to me. I will exert my individual sovereignty and spend my money where my children are appreciated and I am made, as a Yukoner to feel valued, like mount Sima and the Canada Games center does every time.

Up 14 Down 6

Mitch Holder on May 19, 2022 at 9:02 am

That said, I don't ill wish his misfortune. Hope it gets up and running again.

Up 25 Down 13

Rights on May 19, 2022 at 9:01 am


It's Umbrich's right to build as he sees fit. As you said, "His money, his vision, his sweat."

But it's a Yukoner's right to be disappointed in the new business model, given many of them won't be able to afford a soak under his business model. If he was truly building for "the people of the Yukon", he would take this into account.

Up 23 Down 20

Mitch Holder on May 19, 2022 at 8:59 am

@ BNR - No, I disagree, this was a local treasure and the owner's vision is exclusive, a rip off of this community and a smarmy classist move unwelcome in our territory. Baked Cafe with a pool.

Up 14 Down 13

JC on May 18, 2022 at 9:07 pm

Cheap contractors? Poor design? Installation mistake?

Stay tuned....

Up 21 Down 8

B Scheck on May 18, 2022 at 8:37 pm

I enjoyed an evening at the Eclipse Nordic Hotsprings last Friday. The new buildings are stunning and the whole experience was great. The amount of thought and effort to build this new business was obvious. I was very dismayed to read of the fire and hope that you can make the repairs quickly and get it fully open again soon.
I will certainly recommend visitors and locals alike come out to experience your facility.

Up 14 Down 30

Ta’an citizen on May 18, 2022 at 6:04 pm

Why did Umbrich remove the hot springs from our land claims when he was negotiating? We got had.

Up 47 Down 24

BnR on May 18, 2022 at 4:26 pm

All the commenters criticizing Mr Umbrichs business model add just pathetic
You don’t like it? Develop your own facility. His money, his vision, his sweat.
Problem is most people, like the commenters below, are too used to gov funded projects that cater to the everyone. My tax dollars subsidize your precious childrens trips to Sima, the Canada Hames Center etc
I’m glad there’s a place where adults can go and be away from the screaming, Ill behaved hordes of children belonging to the adults who expect everything up here to be subsidized.
Hope you’re back up and running soon Gary.

Up 23 Down 4

Design flaw? on May 18, 2022 at 1:57 pm

Considering how expensive and extensive the upgrades were to create this spa, I am surprised that the buildings aren't sprinklered (or are they). I don't know because I haven't been there. Can anyone confirm?

Up 22 Down 11

Free market on May 18, 2022 at 1:05 pm

Whine, whine, whine.... C'mon guys.

Up 40 Down 23

Just Sayin' on May 18, 2022 at 9:01 am

This makes little difference for many Yukoners who can't afford to go... just sayin'

Up 46 Down 26

drum on May 17, 2022 at 7:23 pm

This used to be for Yukoners - now they only want foreigners with money. They can keep it - who are the investors - I do hope that Yukoners tax money did not go into this project.

Up 32 Down 34

Sorry for your fire on May 17, 2022 at 5:24 pm

Sorry for your fire. Bad way to start off the spa and terrible luck. Lucky there weren't kids around--oh wait, no kids allowed! Adults who are 19+ are the only clientele you're receiving; I guess being legal drinking age is the determiner of who gets to frequent your spa. When is that pool going to be built for all ages, if ever?

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