Newhalen home fire destroys family’s belongings, no injuries

May 16, 2018

A fire last week devastated the home of two Newhalen elders. There were no injuries, but the flames substantially damaged the building and their belongings.

Iliamna Fire Station garage
Credit KDLG

Smoke was pouring from the windows of Katie and Peter Olympic’s home when the fire truck arrived. It was shortly before 8 a.m. on May 10. A handful of volunteers were already on the scene.

“We had the fire truck running, and we had guys shooting water into the house,” said Tim Anelon, Iliamna Fire Chief. “I had guys running line from the fire hydrant to the fire truck to keep our fire truck full as we fight the fire, and we saved the structure.”

There were no injuries, but the inside of the home and the Olympics’ belongings sustained significant damage from flames and smoke. The heat from the fire melted photographs. The electrical wiring, insulation, flooring and many appliances need to be replaced.

Anelon said that the exact cause of the fire is unknown, but it appears to be electrical as the blaze began near the fuse box.

The community is banding together to help repair the Olympics’ home and replace their belongings.

“We have Newhalen Tribal [Council] right now working on taking everything out of the house, gutting the house, trying to help the family. They’re going to try to rebuild it for them,” Anelon said.

A GoFundMe campaign raised almost $700 by Wednesday, and the City of Newhalen is accepting donations for the family.

Contact the author at avery@kdlg.org or 907-842-5281.