Three family members die in trailer fire at Nikiski

Posted: Thursday, March 30, 2000

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Three members of a Nikiski family were killed in a trailer fire early Thursday that was likely caused by a cigarette, according to Alaska State Troopers.

Richard Downie, 39, and his sons Daniel, 11, and Robert, 5, were killed in the blaze. Downie's wife Corrine, 33, got out of the trailer safely.

Trooper spokesman Greg Wilkinson said the fire's starting point has been traced to a couch where Richard Downie reportedly smoked a cigarette just before going to bed.

Wilkinson said the investigation also revealed that smoke detectors in the trailer were not in working order, and that the trailer's back door was blocked shut by snow, making any escape out of the rear of the trailer impossible.

Richard and Corrine Downie were awakened shortly after 2 a.m. Thursday and made their way outside, Wilkinson said, but that the man went back into the burning trailer in efforts to get the children.

His body and that of the older boy were found inside, Wilkinson said. The younger boy was pulled from the trailer, but was declared dead upon arrival at Central Peninsula Hospital in Soldotna.

The state Fire Marshal's office was investigating the case.

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