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

Artist Mike Dangeli gives his son, Hayetsk, a shoulder ride on Oct. 4. (Mike Dangeli/Instagram)
Skeena Voices | ‘The culture and the art saved my life’

Terrace-based artist shares stories of the journey that brought him here

The City of Terrace now requires masks at all indoor City facilities. (File Photo)
Masks to be required in all indoor City of Terrace facilities

Requirement comes as B.C. sees increase in COVID-19 cases

Northern Health saw 14 cases in one day earlier this week, the highest in one day since the beginning of the pandemic. (Image courtesy CDC)
Northern Health sees highest number of new COVID-19 cases in one day

Oct. 27 saw the highest number of new cases in the Health Authority since the start of the pandemic

Over the years, Janice Blackie-Goodine’s home in Summerland has featured elaborate Halloween displays and decorations each October. (File photo)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about Halloween?

Oct. 31 is a night of frights. How much do you know about Halloween customs and traditions?

FILE - In this Jan. 23, 1987 file photo, actor Sean Connery holds a rose in his hand as he talks about his new movie “The Name of the Rose” at a news conference in London. Scottish actor Sean Connery, considered by many to have been the best James Bond, has died aged 90, according to an announcement from his family. (AP Photo/Gerald Penny, File)
Actor Sean Connery, the ‘original’ James Bond, dies at 90

Oscar-winner was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

Cpl. Nathan Berze, media officer for the Mission RCMP, giving an update on the investigation at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 30. Patrick Penner photo.
VIDEO: Prisoner convicted of first-degree murder still at large from Mission Institution

When 10 p.m. count was conducted, staff discovered Roderick Muchikekwanape had disappeared

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole rises during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Wednesday October 28, 2020. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
Conversion therapy ban gets approval in principle, exposes Conservative divisions

Erin O’Toole himself voted in favour of the bill, as did most Conservative MPs

Most Read