One of the last major sawmill operations in Wrangell has been destroyed by fire.
Mike Allen Enterprizes burned to the ground in Tuesday’s mid-afternoon fire at 13 Mile Zimovia Highway.
The distance as well as unreliable phone service made firefighting a challenge.
That portion of Zimovia Highway was under heavy construction and down to a single lane with pilot vehicles.
SECON was the first to respond with a tanker truck. SECON workers helped emergency responders get to the fire by directing traffic and getting other vehicles off the road.
The Wrangell Volunteer Fire Department used three engines and three tankers to fight the fire, leaving one fire engine and crew in town, according to Fire Chief Tim Buness.
“We received the call at 2:08 p.m. and twelve minutes later the first engine arrived from the substation,” he said. “Eighteen minutes after the initial call the trucks from town arrived. We had 35 volunteers and five retired firefighters on-scene.”
It took about six hours to wrap up the fire.
Wrangell was once a power in the Southeast Alaska timber industry. But as the industry declined, the larger mills closed.
Mike Allen owned the operation, a small community mill and one of the last two substantial milling operations in Wrangell. Allen made dimensional lumber of desired wood species, filling mostly local orders.
- The management slate won this year’s Sealaska board election. Three incumbents and a newcomer who ran with them beat out eight independent candidates.
- A local archaeologist says there may be the remains of a historic Alutiiq fish trap on the north end of Kodiak Island. Those types of man-made formations are rare to discover in the region, he said.
- Senate Republicans have tweaked their Obamacare repeal bill in hopes of keeping more healthy customers in the insurance market. Customers who fail to maintain coverage could be temporarily locked out.