It’s a long-standing joke that the sun is a foreign object in Southeast Alaska and that its appearance makes residents cower.
The joke came home last week when the Haines Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched following a call from a Main Street resident who mistook a sunrise for a “large fire on Third Avenue.”
Fire chief Scott Bradford said one fire truck responded to the resident’s call that came about 4 a.m. June 21. “Dispatch has to go with what they hear… We drove up and down Third Avenue looking for fire or smoke.”
Firefighters also looked along Fourth Avenue, but when no blaze was spotted, police went to the home of the caller, ultimately determining the person was looking at the sun as its light came around the corner of Mount Ripinsky.
“I saw the same thing when I looked behind me,” Bradford said, describing the cloud-filtered light as a “bright, orangey ball.” It was just the sunrise, he said, “but it was a memorable one.”
The goose chase wasn’t the first for the department. Bradford said about every other year the department is called out to chase a fire that’s a phantom.
A Petersburg fishing boat with a brilliant, yellow deck light that visits local waters in the fall has prompted calls to the fire department, as have Skyline subdivision street lights glowing orange in the fog. “It happens,” Bradford said.