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One dead in Bethel house fire

Devin Kelly

One person died in a fire in Bethel Tuesday afternoon, fire officials said.

The fire broke out about 2 p.m. in a house at 690 6th Avenue in Bethel. It took emergency crews more than 20 minutes to extinguish the blaze, which gutted the inside of the house, said Captain Bill Howell of the Bethel Fire Department.

Howell said heavy smoke was visible from Bethel's fire station, three-quarters of a mile away. A fire engine, two city water trucks, two ambulances and a combination of paid and volunteer firefighters responded to the scene.

Crews quickly controlled the downstairs portion of the fire and conducted an initial search in heavy heat and smoke conditions, Howell said. The sole victim, an adult, was found at that time, he said.

Howell said the victim's body was being transported to the state medical examiner for identification. He declined to discuss other identifying information, including the victim's gender, before the completion of an autopsy.

Responders searched the house at least three more times, and found no other victims, Howell said. It was unclear how many people were living in the home at the time.

The house was in disrepair, and had been partially abandoned over the last several years, Howell said. He said the home has been known to house transients, has gained a reputation for ruckus, noise and drinking, and is frequently visited by Bethel emergency services.

He said the state fire marshal arrived in Bethel Tuesday night to investigate the cause of the fire.

"We're not ruling anything out at this point," Howell said.

Reach Devin Kelly at dkelly@adn.com or 257-4314.


By DEVIN KELLY
dkelly@adn.com