Fire chief, family believed killed in fire

In the news

Posted: Wednesday, February 09, 2005

ANCHORAGE (AP) — A volunteer fire department chief, his wife and their daughter are believed to be the victims of a house fire that killed three people in Copper Center.

Positive identification has not yet been made, but troopers said Michael Voyles, 36, Ruthie Michelle Voyles, 34, and daughter Mary Allie Patterson, 12, lived in the log home.

Trooper spokesperson Greg Wilkinson said the victims died of smoke inhalation. The state does not expect results from DNA and dental records for several weeks, Wilkinson said. Family members told troopers the three family members were in the house.

Voyles recently was named chief of the volunteer fire department in nearby Gulkana. He also volunteered for the Copper Center fire department.

Voyles recently installed a wood-burning furnace in the back of the house.

The tragedy might have been avoided if the family had a smoke detector in their home, said John Bond, deputy state fire marshal.

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