Storage building in Dillingham boat harbor catches fire

Onlookers gather to watch a fire near the Dillingham harbor on Friday, July 27, 2018.
(Photo by Austin Fast / KDLG)

No injuries nor damage to boats have been reported after a building caught fire in the Dillingham boat harbor Friday.

The Dillingham Fire Department rushed to the scene around 9 p.m.

“Initial report was a mattress that was on fire is what got paged out. After that I don’t know exactly what the second flame up was or where the extension happened from,” fire coordinator Braden Tinker said.

The wood and aluminum building used to be a fish plant and is now mostly filled with material from the old Queen Cannery. The city repossessed the property from its previous owner, who owed back taxes.

“Mostly just storage in here right now — old wood, boxes, mattress, on and on,” harbor master Jean Barrett explained. “There’s foam in there. There’s plywood. There’s some motors in there that really don’t have any oil or anything in them. No liquid combustibles anyhow. There’s still a lot of combustible material in the wood and such.”

Barrett added that the city hopes to bulldoze the what is left of the building when time and money allow.

Volunteers fought the flames. A handful of men stood on a shipping container and soaked the building and surrounding area from above. Others in fire safety gear and respirators entered the burning building to fight the flames from the inside.

At 10:30 p.m. Tinker said that the fire was under control, but that it was “far from being out,” and he estimated it would take the volunteer fire department at least three hours to extinguish the flames.

The exact cause of the fire is not yet known.

“There’s no electricity in here. There’s no fuel we know of. Somebody being in there that shouldn’t be in there probably started this fire,” Barrett said.