Koliganek woman dies in fire

Posted: Tuesday, August 22, 2000

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A Koliganek woman died in a fire early Monday morning, Alaska State Troopers said.

Frieda Johnson, 19, her boyfriend and family members were camping in a log building about a half hour upriver from the village, troopers said. The building had once served as a bath house.

The Alaska Fire Marshall's office says a citronella candle had apparently been knocked over during the night and ignited a mattress, blankets and sleeping bags.

Johnson's boyfriend, whose name was not released, awoke at about 3 a.m. to find the room filled with smoke. Troopers said he panicked, broke the door off the hinges and managed to escape to the outside with Johnson's family members.

When the fresh air entered the structure the building erupted in flames, preventing Frieda Johnson from escaping and blocking rescue attempts from outside the structure.

The fire destroyed the roof of the structure and charred the interior walls.

The State Medical Examiner has authorized release of victim's remains to the family for burial in Koliganek. No foul play is suspected at this time. Investigation by the State Fire Marshall and troopers is continuing.

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