Wilbur Hot Springs plans to rebuild after devastating fire

Apr 2, 2014 1:08 PM

On Saturday March, 29, a fire tore through the popular Wilbur Hot Springs Lodge in Colusa County, but despite significant damage and no insurance, plans to rebuild are already underway.

Owner Dr. Richard Miller and his family were eating breakfast in the dining hall Saturday around 9:45 a.m. when a guest said he smelled smoke upstairs according to a Wilbur Springs press release.

Dr. Miller and his family attempted to battle the blaze with fire extinguishers but the smoke and flames spread rapidly. Within minutes, the upstairs was engulfed in flames.

Hotel staff evacuated the hotel, while Dr. Miller and some staff members used fire hoses to continue fighting the flames. Witnesses said Dr. Miller had to be pulled away from the hotel by his daughter Sarana.

By the time firefighters from Williams, Capay Valley, and Lake County arrived, the hotel was beyond saving and the focus shifted to damage control. Fortunately Wilbur’s prized attraction, the hot springs Fluminarium with its three mineral soaking flumes, and surrounding building were untouched by the fire.

The hot springs were first opened to the public in 1865 by Ezekiel Wilbur and the hotel was added in 1915. Dr. Miller purchased and opened the hotel in 1972.

Wilbur Hot Springs has been off-grid since its beginnings and was a pioneer in the use of solar power. The European-style hotel had 23 private rooms and an 11-bed bunk room and had gone through several renovations under Dr. Miller’s leadership, including the addition of a third floor.

Despite not having insurance on the hotel Dr. Miller says “Wilbur will reopen very soon, welcoming day use visitors, campers, and a limited number of overnight guests in our Solar Lodge.” Plans for renewal are already underway ““We will rebuild and continue to be here for the community as a place of refuge,” said Dr. Miller.

Community members can make contributions or volunteer for the cleanup and rebuilding effort.

For updates on the rebuilding effort or information on how to help visit www.wilburhotsprings.com


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