Visiting construction worker puts out house fire in Y-K Delta village with no fire department

The fire destroyed everything in the home and displaced the four household members. (Photo courtesy of Kane Peacock / Brice Inc.)

On May 23, a fire started in a home in the village of Crooked Creek in Western Alaska. None of the four inhabitants, including the homeowner and her 2-year-old son, were at home at the time. The fire ravaged their house, and a man was injured trying to stop the flames. Through a series of fortunate events, nobody perished and the fire did not spread.

Crooked Creek lacks a fire department and running water to its homes and businesses. But a visiting construction company, Brice Inc., happened to be in town, and happened to have a water truck on hand. Brice employee Kane Peacock says that’s how they put the fire out when they got to the scene.

“It was definitely a little hectic at first,” he said. “We had a bunch of fire extinguishers there and everyone to help. But realistically at that time, the flames were so large that he couldn’t get close enough to use a fire extinguisher. So it was kind of just the guy running the hose off the water truck.”

The tribal administrator for Crooked Creek, Elena Philips, lives next door to the home that burned down. She said that before the water trucks arrived, community members were trying to put out the fire and one got hurt.

“One of our community members was hosing inside the house trying to get the fire out before it got really bad. And he slipped on something and cut his wrist,” said Philips.

She said that the cut was really bad.

“It was a scary time because he could have bled to death because we don’t have a health aide here,” she said.

Fortunately, Philips said that Kyle Inman, who has experience working as a firefighter and medic in Bethel, happened to be in town. He was able to locate the key to the clinic and treat the injured man while he waited for the medevacs to arrive.

The man was first medevaced to Bethel and then to Anchorage, where he is in stable condition and recovering from his injuries.

Recently, there have been several other fires around the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region. This week, there was a dump fire in Chevak that responding village police officers and firefighters put out with buckets of water. There have also been two separate wildfires near Akiachak and Scammon Bay, and a tundra brush fire in Bethel. All were quickly extinguished. There was also a snowmachine that caught fire in Aniak, but the fire was also put out and did not damage any other property.

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