Fire in Yukon Flats village of Beaver takes out power plant

State agencies are helping the village of Beaver following a fire that destroyed the community’s power plant. The State’s Emergency Communications Center at Ft. Richardson was activated yesterday due to concerns that the flames would spread to the fuel tank farm, and threaten the rest of the Yukon Flats village. Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management program manager Bob Stewart says the Alaska Fire Service flew smoke jumpers to the village, but residents were able to control the fire themselves using heavy equipment.

Stewart says an Alaska State Trooper flew into Beaver yesterday to monitor the situation and communicate with the State’s Emergency Operation Center via satellite telephone. The fire knocked out all electricity in the village of 72 people. Communications maintenance provider United Utilities flew in a portable generator yesterday to charge batteries for essential telephone equipment. And Stewart says a state emergency response staff member is also headed to the village this afternoon to asses local needs, including the drinking water and food supply. There is concern the village may have exhausted a large portion of its potable water to fight the fire.

The State Fire Marshall’s Office is investigating the cause of the fire. The powerhouse was undergoing work yesterday when the blaze broke out.

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks