Old Bethel building burns down

by Angela Denning-Barnes on November 14, 2012

An old Bethel residence built in the 1940s caught fire and was totaled Tuesday evening. The building was located at 1051 2nd Avenue, near the entrance to the Bethel port.

It was a former home of the Sara family, more recently being used as a shop. Some one was attempting to warm up the building using a woodstove but other nearby materials caught on fire.

Bethel police and fire fighters responded to the scene at about 4:20 p.m. It took them about four hours to contain the fire which they fought aggressively for fear it could spread to other nearby structures and homes.

The building was made with original Kuskokwim lumber planks not plywood, said Bill Howell, Captain of the Bethel Fire Department.

Howell said the fire burned fast and produced a lot of smoke. The smoke partially came from shingles that covered the exterior. Also, the old-style insulation in the building was made of newspaper, cardboard, and sawdust, all highly flammable materials.

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