Kotzebue house fire leaves 2 dead

a fatal Kotzebue house fire
The remnants of a Kotzebue home that burned on Friday, Jan. 27, 2023. (Alaska Fire Marshal’s Office)

Alaska State Troopers say two people were found dead in a burned Kotzebue home Friday evening. 

The fire was reported at 9:33 p.m., and it initially wasn’t known whether anyone was inside, according to troopers.

Department of Public Safety spokesman Tim DeSpain said, once the fire was suppressed enough, responders searched the home. At about midnight, the remains of two people were found inside.

City of Kotzebue officials referred questions for local firefighters to city attorney Joe Evans. He said the home was a total loss.

“It’s my understanding that by the time they arrived, it was quite a conflagration,” Evans said. “That is, the fire was – the house was being almost fully consumed.”

He deferred most questions to the state fire marshal’s office, which investigates fatal fires in rural Alaska.

Troopers said a representative from the fire marshal’s office flew from Anchorage to Kotzebue Saturday. The investigation into the fire’s cause and origin is ongoing.

The bodies were sent to the State Medical Examiner’s office in Anchorage for positive identification and examination, according to troopers.

Chris Klint is a web producer and breaking news reporter at Alaska Public Media. Reach him at cklint@alaskapublic.org. Read more about Chris here.

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