A restaurant in Kotzebue is likely a total loss after a blaze Thursday morning. The popular Bayside Restaurant sat on Kotzebue’s Shore Avenue, overlooking the Kotzebue Sound.
“At this time, there are reports that there may have been one person in the building, who at this time they cannot account for,” said Kotzebue City Manager Tom Atkinson on Thursday afternoon.
Atkinson said no responders were injured and they are cleaning up the smoky rubble from the popular restaurant. Bayside was housed in a two-story building with a residence on top.
During the morning, smoke and heavy blowing snow filled the air near the site, covering the area with a thick white and gray cloud.
Atkinson says the fire started burning at around 5:30 a.m. As of about 2 p.m. Thursday, officials don’t know the cause. Heavy winds battered Kotzebue all morning, at speeds from 40 to up to 65 miles an hour, according to the National Weather Service.
But Atkinson said it’s those winds that kept the fire away from the Nullaġvik Hotel and a nearby residence.
“The wind is blowing directly out to the [Kotzebue] Sound which is blowing it away from either structure on either side of the Bayside Restaurant.”
The fire died down Thursday afternoon. The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning through Friday evening at 6:00 p.m. for most of the Northwest Arctic Borough.