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Two Dillingham homes destroyed in fires on Tuesday

Emperor Way House Fire
Brian Venua
The house on Emperor Way, which was destroyed in a fire on Tuesday night.

Two homes in Dillingham were damaged in fires on Tuesday, one on Emperor Way near Lupine Dr. and one on Gauthier Way on Windmill Hill.

The house on Emperor Way caught fire in the afternoon and was completely destroyed by Wednesday morning. KDLG’s youth receptionist, Alex Buholm, and her mother witnessed the fire on Tuesday around 5 p.m. Buholm said the fire had already done significant damage by the time they arrived

“Yeah, this had been burning for quite a while,” she said. “And you could tell because everything on the inside was just straight black. Nothing had color anymore. It was just straight black.”

The house was structurally compromised and Buholm said she saw it begin to collapse.

“The roof had almost caved in directly in the middle. The plastic that goes around the house before you put on the siding — that was almost burnt, like it was almost gone all the way around. There was like a quarter of the house left. The porch was gone,” Buholm recalled. “I’m glad that the cars were far away from the house though. That could have been pretty bad.”

Buholm and her mother brought ice and sandwiches to the first responders. She said the response team comprised at least 12 people and included three fire trucks and an ambulance.

“I think I counted a total of maybe seven firefighters, I think, and then two paramedic workers and two cops. And then Lori, the city clerk, and then some Nushagak workers were there just to make sure that none of the wires caught on fire. So that that whole neighborhood wouldn’t lose power,” she said.

From conversations with witnesses, Buholm gathered that the fire started after a smokehouse was left unattended for less than 10 minutes. No injuries were reported but the family lost their three dogs.

Early Wednesday morning the house reignited but was contained after first responders returned to the site. By 9 a.m. the house was reduced to smolders and debris.

On Gauthier Way, a trailer also caught fire on Tuesday night. By Wednesday morning, the inside of the trailer had been burned and windows were broken. The trailer’s resident said he does not know how the fire started. The resident lost two dogs, both of whom were in the grass nearby.

Fires in Dillingham can be reported to the Dillingham Fire Department at (907) 842-2288. If it’s an emergency, contact the Dillingham Police Department at (907) 842-5354 or call 911.

Get in touch with the author at Katherine@kdlg.org or (907) 842-2200.

Katherine is covering local stories in Dillingham and the Bristol Bay area for the summer of 2022, and she's excited to be in Alaska for the first time. She's passionate about all forms of storytelling, and she recently graduated from the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, a 15-week intensive in radio and podcast production. When not working on stories or hosting the morning news, Katherine enjoys cooking, reading, and going on aimless walks. She'll pet any dog that wants attention.