Kodiak man dies in Homer boat fire

Posted: Friday, December 06, 2002

HOMER (AP) -- A Kodiak man died Sunday in the Homer harbor during a fire on a 58-foot steel commercial fishing boat.

Mark W. Dennis, 43, died on the Juneau-based Konrad I, the first fatality from a local fire since the 1980s, according to the Homer Volunteer Fire Department.

''The cause of the fire, which originated in the bunk area, is under investigation, and reports have been made to the state Fire Marshall's Office and the Coast Guard,'' Fire Chief Bob Painter told the Homer Tribune.

The vessel was tied to the E float in the harbor. Volunteers responded to the fire at 2:58 a.m.

''The fire was first detected by a Homer harbor officer and reported as heavy smoke coming from the vessel,'' Painter said. ''Upon entering the smoke-filled boat and extinguishing the small fire, firefighters discovered the body.''

Homer Police Chief Mark Robl said Dennis likely was asleep when he died.

While the cause of the fire remains under investigation, Painter said, it probably was ignited by a cigarette.

''It's pointing to smoking in bed, but that's not an official determination yet. ... There's just not many other potential causes right now,'' said Painter.

An autopsy to determine cause of death was scheduled by the state medical examiner.

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