Downtown Talkeetna Fire Destroys 1 Building, Damages 2 Others

A fire broke out in downtown Talkeetna in the early hours of Thursday morning. The fire burned one small structure to the ground and caused extensive damage to two other buildings. Talkeetna Fire responded a little after 2 a.m. to a blaze that had consumed the My Little Dumpling food trailer and was quickly spreading to the adjacent structures, including Denali Dry Goods, built in 1930, and the Denali Zipline Tours building.

According to Talkeetna Fire Chief Ken Farina, the three structures were ablaze when they responded, at which point units from as far as Willow and Central Mat Su fire were called in to assist in fighting the blaze and prevent it from spreading to other structures in Downtown Talkeetna.

“We got there, and there was a lot of fire there – all three buildings were on fire. The back end of Denali Dry Goods and the Zipline building were on fire, and it extended into the attics of both businesses. We had Willow come up, and everybody, actually all the way down in Wasilla came on up,” Farina said.

Initial fire response took about two hours to knock the fire down, and Response units concluded their efforts at around 8:30 a.m., once the hot spots were eliminated.

The food trailer is a total loss, and considerable damage was caused to the Zipline building. Farina says the efforts to contain the fire and prevent its spread was a priority, due to the close proximity of buildings in Downtown Talkeetna, which are primarily wood.

“I mean, you know how downtown is, the buildings are so close to each other. If those buildings really – if the Zipline and Denali Dry Goods really caught on fire there would have been embers in the air, and all the buildings downstream, downwind, were a threat, that’s why I asked for so much response from other departments to come help us out, because downtown really scares the hell out of me. [There are] a lot of old structures, historic structures and those lots are so tiny that the buildings are right on top of each other. You’ve got the roadhouse on one side of you and you’ve got the Wildflower on the other side, and I mean, they could have as well have been damaged if the wind was going like the last three days up here,” Farina said.

It is unknown to what extent the Denali Dry Goods building was damaged. Fire Marshalls are conducting investigations into the cause of the fire, and total damage is still unknown at this time.

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Lorien Nettleton is a reporter with KTNA in Talkeetna.

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