Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966


Blaze sears public works shop


A fire that broke out in a bay of the new public works building early Tuesday may cost as much as $75,000 to remediate.

The fire started on a pallet loaded with eight bags of “Floor-Dri,” a granular absorbent material, and and grader blades, said borough public facilities chief Brian Lemcke.

It started against the middle of a wall, then climbed a wall, eventually reaching about 18 feet, melting insulation in the ceiling and charring a lumber sill plate.

The fire apparently ran out of oxygen or fuel, as it was smoldering when workers arrived about 5 a.m. Flames came within about 10 feet of tanks of explosive gases, he said. The building opened in 2008.

Damage is not extensive enough to trigger investigation by the state fire marshall or by insurance agencies, Lemcke said.

Lemcke said the cause of the fire is baffling and may never be determined.