Fire destroys Mekoryuk office; firefighting efforts hampered by storm

Posted: Tuesday, January 29, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Residents of the village of Mekoryuk on Nunivak Island are looking for funds to rebuild an office destroyed by fire last week.

The early morning fire Friday gutted the village Natural Resources office. Damage is estimated at $82,000.

Jack Williams, the village public safety officer, called his volunteer fire crew and rushed to get the firetruck. When they returned, the building was enveloped in flames.

''We tried fighting, but it was windy and it started burning really quick,'' Williams said.

The firetruck's 500-gallon water tank was about half full when the fire began. The crew ran out of water and had to take the truck for a refill, Williams said. The crew returned to find the fire was dangerously close to nearby homes.

The crew attempted to extinguish the blaze by scooping snow with a bulldozer and dumping it on the building. When that didn't work they used the bulldozer to push the building away from the other homes.

After about 30 minutes, the fire burned itself out.

The cause of the fire has not been determined, Williams said.

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