Overheated heat tape near the roof of the information center at Timpanogos Cave National Park is believed to be the cause of a fire that damaged an estimated 90 percent of the center early Sunday.
Total damage could exceed $500,000, officials say.Ray Pugsley, resident park manager, responded to an alarm at 2:47 a.m., encountering smoke about a half-mile from the center. Heavy smoke was pouring out the roof by the time Pugsley reached the structure in American Fork Canyon.
The manager notified authorities, and 24 firefighters from Alpine and Pleasant Grove responded. Battling heavy snow and ice, firefighters worked about four hours to bring the fire under control.
The Utah County fire marshal and two deputies from the state fire marshal's office investigated the cause of the blaze at the 6,300-square-foot building, which was built at a cost of $125,000.
National Park Service officials were not sure early Monday how the fire will affect the planned spring opening of the park.