Burned cars clutter Kasilof beach

Troopers seek culprit who abandoned vehicles

Posted: Tuesday, May 02, 2006

 

  The charred, rusted remains of three vehicles were illegally dumped in what is usually the pristine beach environment on the north side of the mouth of the Kasilof River. Two of the vehicles have been towed away, but as of Saturday one remained. Photo by Joseph Robertia

The charred, rusted remains of three vehicles were illegally dumped in what is usually the pristine beach environment on the north side of the mouth of the Kasilof River. Two of the vehicles have been towed away, but as of Saturday one remained.

Photo by Joseph Robertia

Torched and illegally dumped vehicles near the mouth of the Kasilof River have spring beach-goers hot under the collar.

“It’s just someone being inconsiderate of everyone else,” said Tim Stone of Soldotna in regard to three cars that turned up on the north side of the river.

“They were right at the mouth, down below the high tide zone,” Stone said of two of the vehicles. The third was further up the beach, at the end of Kasilof Beach Road, past the Watchman’s Cabin.

From the condition the vehicles were in, Stone knew they weren’t just temporarily broken down or swamped. Whomever the owners were, they had no intention of coming back.

“They were dumped and completely burnt. They were fried to the point there was no rubber left and all the plastic had melted away,” Stone said.

According to him, it was a real eyesore to have the charred, rusted remains in what is usually a pristine beach environment.

“A lot of people come down to enjoy the beach and we’re getting ready to get a lot of tourists here, and this doesn’t give a good impression of us. Not at all,” Stone said.

Stone said he also feared for fishermen’s safety and had environmental concerns about the vehicles.

“They were being engulfed by the sea and sand. I was worried they would get into the river and potentially cause damage to the hulls of the commercial fleet or cause problems for dipnetters,” he said.

Stone informed the Alaska State Troopers, and he said that they responded quickly.

“We received the call on the 14th (of April), went and looked at them, and called in a tow company and had the two on the beach pulled off on the 17th,” said Matt Wertanen, a trooper with E detachment in Soldotna.

Wertanen said there were no license plates on the vehicles, but troopers are hoping to use the car’s vehicle identification numbers to catch the culprit.

“It’s still under investigation,” Wertanen said.

Due to the nature of the incident, troopers also called in the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation to investigate the scene for possible pollutants.

“There wasn’t a pollution threat at the time we saw it,” said Bob Petit, of DEC’s spill response office in Soldotna.

“They were all burned up and there was no fuel left,” he said. However, Petit was quick to add that anytime vehicles are dumped in unapproved sites, there is potential for pollution.

“Oil, gas, battery acid — there are lots of things that don’t belong and obviously if these toxins got in the river it could be a problem,” he said.

One last burned vehicle remains on the beach and Stone said that he hopes it will be hauled away soon, either by the troopers or, preferably, by whomever put the vehicles there in the first place.

“Dumping these here is like going into someone else’s house and trashing it. You just don’t do that and it’s a shame that someone out there would,” Stone said.



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