SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

 

Fire ravages Hooper Bay

 

August 04, 2006
Friday AM


Alaska Department of Public Safety officials said 16 structures have been destroyed in a fire that started early Thursday at the Bering Sea coastal village of Hooper Bay. Officials said a change in wind direction kept the fire from stretching to Hooper Bay's bulk fuel tank farm. Among the 16 structures destroyed were the elementary and high schools, one of the two village stores and homes.

jpg Hooper Bay Fire

Hooper Bay Fire
Photo courtesy Alaska State Troopers

Governor Frank H. Murkowski said, "To see the effort and quick response augmented by support from the Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry workers, Bethel Volunteer Fire Fighters, Nome Volunteer Fire Fighters, the American Red Cross, Bethel U.S. Fish & Wildlife personnel, Department of Public Safety Fire Marshals and State Troopers and scores of others was a tremendous display of teamwork and inter-agency coordination."

Upon learning about Thursday's fire and the potentially devastating impact upon the residents in Hooper Bay, Governor Murkowski phoned Department of Public Safety Commissioner Bill Tandeske to urge that all available state assets be used to extinguish the fire. Murkowski said. "Our number one concern is the safety of the residents. Nancy and I are very grateful that no residents have suffered any life-threatening injuries as a result of the fire."

Murkowski said,"After speaking with the Incident Commander, Bethel Trooper Ramin Dunford, I was relieved to here that the approximately 50 people displaced from their homes were being taken care of and that no one required medical care."

"This tragedy is not yet behind us, as clean up and the investigation into origin have not been completed, so I ask that all Alaskans give their sincere and heart-felt prayers and kind words to those displaced by the fire," said Murkowski.

Early reports indicated that the fire appeared to have started in Hooper Bay's old school and spread through the old part of the town. The Eskimo village of Hooper Bay, with a population of approximately 1,100, is located on the Yukon and Kuskokwim River Delta in Western Alaska.

 

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