Egegik incinerator burns down

Just as the community was preparing for the busy summer fishing season, Egegik’s incinerator burnt down last night.

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The Egegik Incinerator (Photo courtesy of Don Strand, the city administrator for Egegik.)
The Egegik Incinerator (Photo courtesy of Don Strand, the city administrator for Egegik.)
City administrator Don Strand said he got a call that the 2,700 square foot building was burning at about 10 p.m.

“I went out there, it appeared to be more or less totally engulfed on the inside,” he said. “There was a fair amount of fire in the back of the building outside. Pallets and whatnot burning. We got that put out first to try and keep a tundra fire from starting, which we did, and then proceeded to try and put out the inside of the building.”

Egegik relies on volunteers to fight fires, and Tuesday was no exception. Strand said the community pitched in to fight the fire with the town’s fire truck, including about a dozen newly-arrived Icicle employees, who are in town getting ready to open up the plant for herring season.

“[We] went through the first 2000 gallons of water putting out the majority of outside stuff, the pallets and stuff that were burning behind the building, and then the truck more or less ran out of water, so we brought it back and filled up, spent the next 2000 gallons moping up the outside and putting water on the inside,” Strand said.

The cause of the fire is unknown. By Wednesday afternoon, the building was still smoldering. Strand said the replacement will probably cost about $1.5 million, but he won’t know exactly until the insurance investigator can inspect the damage and come up with an estimate.

“It looks like it’s probably a total replacement,” said Strand. “It’s insured. The insurance company doesn’t want anybody in there until they get an investigator out there either the first part of this week or next week. It’s still burning and smoking enough inside that we don’t want anybody in there until we’re sure it’s structurally sound. It’s still standing, it’s a shell, but it’s still standing. But I don’t know under what condition it’s standing.”

Strand said the building, which went up in 1998, is pretty burnt, and he suspects the two units inside of it that actually burn trash are out of commission, too. Now he is trying to figure out what to do with Egegik’s garbage while the town gets a replacement for the incinerator.

“We got a landfill, that we normally just take stuff. Nonburnable stuff, or stuff we’ve already burnt out there,” Strand said. “And we’ll just kind of have to come up with some kind of plan to have it open certain times where we can dump the garbage and semi-bury it somehow. We get enough wind here, in the summertime, all year round actually, it’s pretty unpredictable starting large open fires outside.”