Visiting construction worker puts out house fire in Y-K Delta village

A house in flames
The fire destroyed everything in the home and displaced the four household members. (Kane Peacock/Brice Inc.)

On May 23, a house caught fire in the village of Crooked Creek in Western Alaska. None of its four inhabitants, including the homeowner and her 2-year-old son, were home. But the fire ravaged the house, and injured a man trying to stop the flames.

Crooked Creek doesn’t have running water to homes and businesses or a fire department. But a visiting construction company, Brice Inc., happened to be in town with a water truck on hand. Brice employee Kane Peacock said that’s how they put the fire out when they got to the scene.

“It was definitely a little hectic at first,” he said. “We had a bunch of fire extinguishers there and everyone to help. But realistically, at that time, the flames were so large that he couldn’t get close enough to use a fire extinguisher. So it was kind of just the guy running the hose off the water truck.”

The tribal administrator for Crooked Creek, Elena Philips, lives next door to the home that burned down. She said before the water trucks arrived, community members were trying to put out the fire. One got hurt.

“One of our community members was hosing inside the house trying to get the fire out before it got really bad. And he slipped on something and cut his wrist,” said Philips.

The cut was really bad, she said.

“It was a scary time because he could have bled to death because we don’t have a health aide here,” she said.

Fortunately, Philips said Kyle Inman, who has experience working as a firefighter and medic in Bethel, happened to be in town. He was able to locate the key to the clinic and treat the injured man while they waited for a medevac to arrive.

The man was medevaced to Bethel and then to Anchorage, where he’s in stable condition and recovering from his injuries.

There have been several other fires around the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region recently.

There was a dump fire in Chevak this week that responding village police officers and firefighters put out with buckets of water. A snow machine caught fire in Aniak, but was quickly put out and did not damage any other property.

Two separate wildfires started near Akiachak and Scammon Bay, as well as a tundra brush fire in Bethel. All were quickly extinguished.

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