North Pole, Alaska -- On Saturday, October 11, 2003, at 11:33 AM, the North Star Volunteer Fire Department responded to a reported structure fire at 1619 Bradway Road, approximately 2 miles from Badger Road. The building involved was an auto repair shop.
North Star firefighters responded with 4 fire engines from three stations and 14 firefighters, and were on scene within 5 minutes. Firefighters found a 60 by 80 foot wood frame shop, fully involved with heavy smoke and fire visible. Firefighters set up an exterior attack to protect adjacent buildings, heavy equipment, and an RV. Shortly after arriving, an explosion occurred that blew out the front of the building; and still later, barrels and tanks were igniting and rocketing through the roof. Debris from the barrels and tanks was found nearly 500 feet away. Mutual aid assistance was requested from the North Pole, Fort Wainwright, and Fairbanks Fire Departments.
Firefighters continued to attack the fire, and were on scene until 3:30 PM., mopping up. There were no injuries to firefighters or civilians from this fire, however firefighter protective gear was damaged from the explosion.
The shop, several vehicles and a great deal of equipment inside the building were destroyed by the fire, and are estimated to be a combined loss of approximately $500,000. Nearby buildings and equipment was well protected by the firefighters and received only minor damage. There is no insurance. The cause of the fire is undetermined, and remains under investigation.