Crime & Courts

Arson suspect arrested after fire destroys Cantwell lodge

A Spokane man was arrested on arson charges Sunday after an early morning fire destroyed the lodging portion of a Cantwell restaurant and inn, Alaska State Troopers said.

No injuries were reported.

The Cantwell Fire Department was called to a structure fire at 3:39 a.m. on Sunday at the Cantwell Lodge, Mile 136 of the Denali Highway,  troopers said in an online dispatch Sunday.

A bunkhouse portion of the property was "a complete loss," according to the dispatch. The lodge's manager described the buildings to KTVA as a series of connected modular trailers.

Firefighters found "indications that the fire had possibly been set intentionally," according to the troopers dispatch.

Jayson Kapfer, 33, of Spokane, Washington, fled the scene just before firefighters arrived, according to the troopers. Kapfer had "damaged two vehicles belonging to hotel tenants," troopers said.

Law enforcement caught up to him as he was apparently trying to hop an Alaska Railroad train to Fairbanks "on foot," the dispatch said.


Kapfer was charged with first degree arson and two charges of criminal mischief.

He's at the Fairbanks Correctional Center.

Michelle Theriault Boots

Michelle Theriault Boots is a longtime reporter for the Anchorage Daily News. She focuses on in-depth stories about the intersection of public policy and Alaskans' lives. Before joining the ADN in 2012, she worked at daily newspapers up and down the West Coast and earned a master's degree from the University of Oregon.