Alaska News

Man dies in fire at Ketchikan high-rise

One of two people in a room at a Ketchikan high-rise died in a fire Tuesday evening, according to firefighters in the Southeast Alaska town.

The deceased was identified by Ketchikan police Wednesday as 49-year-old Weston Davis.

The Ketchikan Fire Department said in a statement Davis and one other person had been in a room at the Tongass Towers, at 119 Austin St., where firefighters were told an alarm had sounded at 11:19 p.m. First responders found light smoke on the 11th floor and called for help from the North and South Tongass fire departments.

"Firefighters made entry into the involved apartment and began a primary search; they immediately located and removed one occupant who was unharmed," firefighters wrote. "(Davis) was subsequently located and removed from the room of fire origin; despite efforts to revive him, the second occupant was pronounced dead at the scene."

A total of 31 firefighters ultimately responded to the blaze, which was confined to the room in which Davis died and brought under control in about 20 minutes. Three Ketchikan police officers also responded, and Josh Dossett, the Ketchikan Police Department's deputy chief, said one of them performed chest compressions on Davis during life-saving efforts.

A third Tongass Towers resident, located in another room in the building, was evaluated at the scene by medics, but firefighters said no other injuries were reported.

An initial investigation determined smoking materials ignited the fire. Although sprinklers in the building activated in response to the fire, firefighters said no smoke detector was found in the burned room.

Dossett said there wasn't any immediate word on whether other rooms in the building also lacked smoke detectors.

Davis' body will be sent to the State Medical Examiner Office in Anchorage for an autopsy.

Chris Klint

Chris Klint is a former ADN reporter who covered breaking news.