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

The iconic and well-loved live music venue Logan’s is permanently closing its doors due to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Google Maps)
Fernwood pub Logan’s permanently closing its doors

Live music venue unable to weather COVID-19 storm

The Starbucks at 3849 Cadboro Bay Rd. closed permanently on Sunday, Oct. 25. (Google Maps)
Cadboro Bay Starbucks closes despite petition signed by nearly 250 residents

Closure part of transition to more drive-thru locations, Starbucks spokesperson says

Shawn Magnus of Sidney Courier has partnered with Sidney Business Improvement Area Society for free commercial delivery for society members. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney business association partners with courier for free commercial delivery

Service started Oct. 26 and extends to a radius of 35 kilometres

Victoria police are searching for a suspect after a stabbing Monday night. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria police searching for suspect in late-night stabbing

Victim taken to hospital with potentially life-threatening injuries

Struggling to afford rent, Sylvia Bailey is hoping to trade her love of cooking for some more affordable accommodation. (Photo courtesy of Sylvia Bailey)
Retired Victoria woman looking to cook, clean or garden in exchange for rent

Sylvia Bailey is hoping to use her love for cooking to help afford rent

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
L.A. Dodgers beat Rays 3-1 to win 1st World Series title since 1988

National League champs claim crown in six games

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

A picture of John taken at Children’s Hospital Vancouver last week. Photo courtesy, Alicia Sewid.
RCMP investigating after young boy run over by SUV in Campbell River parking lot

The seven-year-old has multiple injuries including a broken pelvis and was admitted to Children’s Hospital in Vancouver

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

A video message from Mrime Minister Justin Trudeau was streamed to attendees at the State of the Island Economic Summit on Tuesday morning. (Vancouver Island Economic Alliance image)
Prime minister greets Vancouver Island economic summit attendees

Vancouver Island Economic Alliance conference being held virtually this week

A woman walks through check in at WestJet at Pearson International airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Strong support for pre-flight COVID testing ahead of upcoming WestJet trial: YVR

Airport is partnering with UBC, which is helping choose the method of pre-flight testing

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau says pandemic ‘really sucks,’ and that Christmas gatherings are up in the air

The prime minister encouraged residents to continue to follow the advice of local health authorities

Most Read