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Ski Area Fire Probe Underway

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An investigation into the cause of an early morning fire that destroyed the lift operations building at Dodge Ridge Ski Area is underway. The burned out building was formerly known as the Old Mother Lode Lodge and was replaced by the new lodge in 1960. Tuolumne County Fire Information Officer Craig Hart says 40 fire fighters responded to the blaze after an employee reported the fire just after 7 A.M. Damage is expected exceed $1-million. Luckily, there were no injuries. Dodge Ridge Ski Area President Sally Hemming says the building was used to store equipment, employees´ lockers and ski patrol archives. None of the items survived the fire. The investigation into the cause of the inferno is being conducted by Tuolumne County and California Department of Forestry fire investigators. Hart says fire fighters used half of the 100-thousand gallons of water stored in a cistern at the ski area while battling the blaze. Fire fighters trucked in water from Pinecrest after that to allow the ski area to use the remaining stored water for operations. The ski area remains open for business and activities were not disrupted by the fire.