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Unalaska Fire Takes 13 Hours to Control

By Austin Baird, Political, Rural Reporter, abaird@ktuu.com
Published On: May 07 2014 11:15:03 AM AKDT
Updated On: May 08 2014 11:30:01 AM AKDT

Courtsy Debbie Sensky

ANCHORAGE -

Unalaska firefighters spent most of Wednesday battling a fire that badly damaged a warehouse owned by Ounalashka Corporation and leased by Pacific Stevedoring Inc.

The fire department is composed of four paid employees, a couple dozen volunteers, two fire engines and one ladder truck.

15 people were needed to control a blaze that sparked at 5:17 a.m. The community's fire hydrant system was put to test: about 3,000 gallons flowed from the moment the department responded until the fire was controlled around 6 p.m.

"It's the first major, big fire we've had since I've been here," said Fire Chief Abner Hoage, who joined the department in 2012.

The warehouse was unoccupied at the time of the fire, but a building 50 feet away and downwind of the burning building has bunks. Everyone there was evacuated.

While it made for a long day of work, Hoage said it was great to see the community come together to make sure the problem was addressed.

"It was pretty neat to see the community have such a great response and so much support," Hoage said. "We're primarily volunteer, and we had people from all major industries, all city departments, miss a day of work to help."

The cause of the fire is unknown, but a state fire marshal is scheduled to arrive Thursday to begin an investigation.