SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


By Katy Suiter


March 21, 2011

In the early morning hours of March 5, 2011, my neighbor’s Pennock Island home burned to the ground. She lost everything but her life, her cat and a blanket - absolutely everything. The only evidence a house existed there are a few piling that held up the outer part of the large deck, and a small pile of ash blanketed with scorched metal roofing. I understand it was quite a sight from the Ketchikan side of the channel, and we had many calls from concerned friends who were worried about us.

While many people may not recognize Vivian Phillips by her name, a lot will remember her as being a great waitress at first The Landing and then Cape Fox Lodge. She worked the morning and lunch shift in both places, and she was recognizable by her long, gray hair that she wore in a single braid down her back, as well as her infectious laugh. However, you had to frequent either establishment prior to 10 years ago, as that is when she had a brain aneurysm and has not been able to work since that time.

During the week following the fire, we anxiously searched the local newspaper for an article of this disaster. I thought there might be some sort of feature in the weekend following the fire, but instead I saw a picture of water lapping the shore at Rotary Beach – Ketchikan’s tsunami. I discussed it with one of the owners of the paper, and was asked to email pictures (which were taken by my husband during the fire). I provided the pictures as well as a contact number for Vivian should the reporter desire more information. Again, I waited and again, there has been nothing.

While I am disappointed that the local newspaper couldn’t even find it appropriate to write a small article when the home of someone who has literally “served” much of the community for years burns to the ground, you can’t imagine how insignificant it makes her feel. I’m not disappointed, however, with the reaction of so many of the people I’ve talked with and who have offered assistance. She doesn’t have many needs at this point, but once the home is rebuilt she will need to start all over with everything household. She is staying with us, and we are happy that she is warm and safe. While she is starting to gather a few “things,” I believe the one thing that means the most to her at this time is the beautiful quilt that was provided by the Rainy Day Quilter’s Guild. Thank you to everyone who visited the quilt show that held a while back and who took the time to tie one of the strands to their fire quilt. That quilt is very much being put to good use by someone who, because of it, has something to call her own. As to the newspaper, all I can say is I’m disappointed.

Katy Suiter
Ketchikan, AK


Received March 21, 2011 - Published March 21, 2011




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Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska