Local News

Investigation underway in mill fire

Click here for iFriendly audio.

A fire destroyed Mike Allen’s sawmill at 13 mile Zimovia Highway last week.

The fire started in the mid-afternoon on Tuesday and took around six hours to put out.

Fire Chief Tim Buness says sawmill fires can be tricky because of all of the wood products. Aside from stacks of lumber, there were piles of sawdust, which is highly flammable.

Firefighters fight spot fires at mill – Photo by Shady Grove Oliver/KSTK

“Part of the issue was getting all of the little sawdust hotspots put out. There was quite a bit of sawdust that was around the mill. So we had to put out all of the little spot fires that kept cropping up.”

Buness says it’s a challenge for the Fire Department. He says it can be hard to locate all of the small spot fires that start near a large fire.

“It is extremely hard to make sure they’re all put out. So basically you just have to keep rooting around. You can kind of tell by whether it’s steam or smoke and also the temperature of the sawdust when you’re rooting around in it.”

Buness says the cause of the fire is still unknown but an investigation is underway.

“We have forwarded our reports to the state fire marshal’s office, as we would for standard reporting on any type of fire like that.”

Mike Allen’s sawmill was one of the last two substantial local milling operations in town. It specialized in custom milling and rough-cut lumber. Most of Allen’s business was local.

The Allen family could not be reached for comment at this point in time.

Comments

Please read our comment guidelines.

Recent News

WCA celebrates cultural center’s grand opening

wca cultural center
The Wrangell Cooperative Association cut the ribbon on its cultural center and carving shed Saturday, completing the second phase of the tribe’s three-part Native cultural revival plan. The center will serve as a place for recreating eight sacred totem poles and for teaching Native arts. more

Wrangell Borough Assembly Meeting of July 28, 2015

Wrangell's Borough Assembly held its regular meeting Tuesday, July 28 in the Assembly Chambers. Click "more" to listen to audio of that meeting. more