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Lake Louise man charged in fire at Charleston Residence

A 40-year-old man has been charged in connection with a fire in Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday that caused more than 150 people to be evacuated from the Charleston Residence, a staff building for the Lake Louise Ski Resort.

The fire broke out around noon and ultimately destroyed the building.

Lake Louise RCMP arrived at the building to find a man on the roof with a knife.

Officers convinced the man to come down a ladder, but say he slipped and fell to the ground, adding that the ladder was slick from the water used in firefighting efforts.

Witnesses saw the man losing his footing and quickly moved a mattress under him, helping to soften his fall.

RCMP say the man was taken to hospital in Calgary with non-life-threatening injuries. 

Timothy Alexander Peterson, 40, a resident of Lake Louise, has been charged with arson and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.

Peterson has been remanded into custody and is scheduled to appear in court on Friday. 

Charleston Residence -- or Chucktown, as locals call it -- had 165 people living in it.

"Our biggest priority, of course, has been to house and feed all of our displaced staff," said Dan Markham with Lake Louise Ski Resort.

"The ski resort, the gondola and food and beverage at the resort are shut down for the moment, and we don't anticipate in the next few days it being up again."

While multiple crowdfunding campaigns have been set up, there are concerns some may be fraudulent.

The resort says it plans to post a single site that will split donations equally among all affected residents.

Bow Valley businesses have pitched in to find accommodations and donations to replace lost clothing and toiletries are already flowing over.

"I think we all started out there. We see ourselves in these people," said Pascale Tetrault, owner of Le Fournil Bakery.

Some moved into Charleston Residence as recently as Saturday, and say they appreciate how the community has risen up to help them.

"It's a big loss. Everyone lost their stuff. But everyone is coming together and the resort is looking after us and everyone is looking out for each other," said Madeline O'Connor.

Parks Canada has put an area closure in effect around the building and RCMP expect the road to be closed through the week.

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