Rural Alaska

3 people pulled from burning home in Bethel have died, police say

BETHEL - Three people have died after a Friday house fire in Bethel.

Bethel Acting Police Chief Christopher Wigner said Doreen Black of Bethel, Gregory Alfred of Kwethluk and Nastasia Nick of Nunapitchuk died over the weekend after being flown out of the city for treatment.

“They were life-flighted out to Anchorage, and then they had two of the victims transported out to Seattle,” Wigner said Monday afternoon. “At this time, we have received information that all three have passed away.”

Wigner said Bethel’s Fire Department and police initially responded to a report of a house fire at 1019 Ridgecrest Drive at about 2:15 p.m. Friday.

When they arrived five minutes later, Wigner said, first responders saw smoke coming from the home. According to the incident report, firefighters went inside and found Black, Alfred and Nick unconscious and severely burned. An ambulance and a Bethel police vehicle took the three to the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corp. hospital, where they were listed in critical condition.

It’s not clear who owns the building that caught fire.

Wigner said local first responders spent the weekend trying to figure out what caused the fire. He said the state fire marshal’s office traveled to Bethel on Saturday to help.


“It appears that the fire was started accidentally,” Wigner said.

Department of Public Safety spokesperson Tim DeSpain wrote in an email that fire investigators found an additional fire started under a trash bag in the arctic entry of the house.

As of Tuesday morning, the state investigation into the fire was ongoing, although DeSpain wrote that the fire was “not suspicious.”

This article originally appeared at and is republished here with permission.