As fire deaths are on the rise in Alaska, so are the efforts to prevent them, according to a report released by the Division of Fire and Life Safety.
On Tuesday, the division released those statistics for 2017. The information was gathered from 170 participating fire departments throughout the state.
According to the data, there were 19 deaths last year, which is up 6 percent. Six of those 19 were children younger than 10.
Last fall, five young girls were killed from smoke inhalation during a fire that happened in the Butte. Investigators ruled that fire accidental and said cooking was the cause.
According to the division, every eight minutes an Alaska fire department responded to a call. Every 11 hours was a call about a residential fire and every two hours, they responded to a false call.
Attended fires were up 16 percent, the report said, but grass brush and wildland incidents down seven of every 10 structure fires were residential. Property loss was listed at over $95 million.
KTVA-TV CBS 11 Anchorage
Fast-acting bystanders helped prevent a potential catastrophe after a vehicle struck a fuel pump at the Fred Meyer gas station in Palmer Tuesday afternoon.
Just before 4 p.m., Frederick Anderson, 70, of Palmer, was traveling southbound on the Glenn Highway in a gold Chevrolet Equinox, according to the Palmer Police Department, when the vehicle abruptly turned left, plowed over a curb and fence, and into the gas station. The Equinox hit one of the fuel pumps and struck a Jeep Cherokee, which was pushed into a Ford F250. The Equinox came to a stop next to the store portion of the station.
Palmer Fire Chief John McNutt said there was a small fire, which was extinguished by bystanders before authorities arrived.
“People acted quickly,” Palmer Police Chief Lance Ketterling said later Tuesday evening. “For all fueling points, fire is a primary concern.”
Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman