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.
- Alaska Airlines pilots have reached a breaking point in negotiations with the company, and now have plans to picket outside Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. The pilots plan to picket starting at 1 p.m. Monday outside the airport in Anchorage.
- Jenkins was taking a practice run through the class four rapids when a bystander filming the event, noticed another participant, Daniel Hartung, 64, of Indian Valley, flipped out of his kayak and became pinned under a log.
- The Tazlina is the first of two new Alaska Class ferries that the Ketchikan Vigor Alaska shipyard is building for the state. Its two halves are complete and welded together, and shipyard workers are busy getting interior spaces done.
- The Alaska Marine Highway is taking reservations for October through April sailings. The schedule changed so the Matanuska can get new engines.