Storage building in Dillingham boat harbor catches fire

Jul 28, 2018

The aluminum and wooden building continued to smolder into the evening. It was a building that was repossessed by the city from its previous owner in 2015 and was used mainly for storage. No injuries or damage to boats have been reported.

Volunteers rushed to assist in fighting the fire.
Credit Avery Lill/KDLG

No injuries nor damage to boats have been reported after a building caught fire in the Dillingham boat harbor Friday.

The Dillingham Fire Department rushed to the scene around 9 p.m.

“Initial report was a mattress that was on fire is what got paged out. After that I don’t know exactly what the second flame up was or where the extension happened from,” said fire coordinator Braden Tinker.

The wood and aluminum building used to be a fish plant and is now mostly filled with material from the old Queen Cannery. The city repossessed the property from its previous owner, who owed back taxes.

"Mostly just storage in here right now — old wood, boxes, mattress, on and on," explained harbor master Jean Barrett. “There’s foam in there. There’s plywood. There’s some motors in there that really don’t have any oil or anything in them. No liquid combustibles anyhow. There’s still a lot of combustible material in the wood and such.”

Barrett added that the city hopes to bulldoze the what is left of the building when time and money allow.

Volunteers fought the flames. A handful of men stood on a shipping container and soaked the building and surrounding area from above. Others in fire safety gear and respirators entered the burning building to fight the flames from the inside.

At 10:30 p.m. Tinker said that the fire was under control, but that it was “far from being out,” and he estimated it would take the volunteer fire department at least three hours to extinguish the flames.

The exact cause of the fire is not yet known. 

"There’s no electricity in here. There’s no fuel we know of. Somebody being in there that shouldn’t be in there probably started this fire," said Barrett. 

This is a developing story. KDLG will update this post as more information becomes available.

Contact the author at avery@kdlg.org or 907-842-2200.

Onlookers gather to watch a fire near the Dillingham harbor on Friday, July 27, 2018.
Credit Austin Fast / KDLG
Credit Avery Lill/KDLG
Credit Avery Lill/KDLG
Credit Avery Lill/KDLG
Credit Avery Lill/KDLG
Credit Avery Lill/KDLG
Credit Avery Lill/KDLG
Credit Avery Lill/KDLG
Police closed Kanakanak Road as thick smoke billowed across it Friday night.
Credit Austin Fast / KDLG
Firefighters try to put out flames at a city-owned building near the harbor Friday night.
Credit Austin Fast / KDLG
Firefighters climb atop Conexes to put out flames at a city-owned building near the harbor Friday night.
Credit Austin Fast / KDLG
Firefighters prepare their gear to put out hot spots as a fire in a storage building near Dillingham's harbor dies down Friday night.
Credit Austin Fast / KDLG