Heidi Zemach for SCN -
The Fish Whisperer Lodge, a lodge located at Seward Highway mile 6.5 that offers its visitors sports fishing charters, was badly damaged in a fire early Thursday morning, March 6th. The roof was already on fire, and flames were shooting out of the north and south side of the upper floor of the building by the time Bear Creek Volunteer Fire Department arrived on scene at about 6:30 a.m. There was a vehicle parked outside, and firefighters had no idea whether anyone was inside, so their main concern at first was getting inside and searching the building, said Assistant Fire Chief Stephen Krouse. They found no-one home.
By the time they had stopped the fire, entering through the roof into the top floor, and also from the ground floor, the upper floor had experienced extensive damage, and there was water and smoke damage to the ground floor and its contents. A bathtub that was supposed to be in the upstairs bathroom where they believe the fire started, was completely missing Krouse said—perhaps melted clear away. It was a pretty hot fire in that area, he added.
The departments used 10,000 gallons of water fighting the fire, and managed to save the structure and the surrounding structures. They estimate the structural damage at about $180,000 and the building’s contents at $40,000. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but the fire department believes it probably started in the upstairs bathroom, and that although they are not known to be the cause, minor construction projects had been going on there.
Seven members of Bear Creek Volunteer Fire Department fought alongside seven members of the Seward Fire Department and two members of Seward Volunteer Ambulance Corps.
This was the fourth house fire to occur in the Bear Creek area to date this year, and the seventh fire that the department responded to. The others included a woodstove fire and a refrigerator fire.
The Bear Creek fire departments is looking for new volunteers that can drive and operate a tanker, which is a critical component of the departments operation for water supply, said Fire Chief Mark Beals. They don’t need to have the training required to do indoor firefighting.
Bear Creek meets every Thursdays night at 7:00 p.m. and visitors are welcome to check out the department and get more information.