Fire Investigators Wrap Up Work in Bethel

The aftermath of the fire. (Photo by Dean Swope / KYUK)
The aftermath of the fire. (Photo by Dean Swope / KYUK)

Two investigators from the state Fire Marshal’s office completed their work at the site of the fire that destroyed the new Bethel alcohol treatment center.

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“The on scene has been completed, however, more followups with interviews may be possible,” Lloyd Nakano, an assistant state fire marshall, said.

Photo by Dean Swope
Photo by Dean Swope

Four days after the enormous fire that leveled the $12.5 million facility, which was being enclosed for the winter, Nakano says he doesn’t know the cause of the fire.

“We have to eliminate causes such as natural, accidental, incendiary, before we can do any, that’s what we have to do,” said Nakano.

Nakano would not say what sort of tools, heaters or equipment was present that might have caused the fire. They have not ruled out the possibility of arson, but also will not say whether they believe it was an intentionally set fire.

Nakano says there are no reports of fatalities or injuries after a thorough search. Nakano has no timeline for when the investigation will be complete. The Bethel Fire Department and an insurance investigator for the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation have also been involved.