Local News

Airport foam lends a hand in Sitka asphalt blaze

The state Department of Transportation's Airport Rescue and Firefighting truck sprays foam on a fire at the end of Granite Creek Road early Monday morning. About 15 Sitka firefighters responded to the incident around 1:30 a.m. (Photo provided by the Sitka Fire Dept.)

The state Department of Transportation’s Airport Rescue and Firefighting truck sprays foam on a fire at the end of Granite Creek Road early Monday morning. About 15 Sitka firefighters responded to the incident around 1:30 a.m. (Photo provided by the Sitka Fire Dept.)

Trailers containing heated asphalt burn early Monday morning at the end of Granite Creek Road. (Photo provided by Sitka Fire Dept._

Trailers containing heated asphalt burn early Monday morning at the end of Granite Creek Road. (Photo provided by Sitka Fire Dept._

Sitka fire officials stopped short of evacuating residents along Halibut Point Road early Monday morning, after a nearby fire sent smoke billowing toward neighborhoods.

Assistant Fire Chief Al Stevens says the fire began at the end of Granite Creek Road, where three containers of asphalt were being heated on trailers, for use on Baranof Street.

One of the heaters fell off its bracket and landed near the tires of a trailer, which then caught fire. Stevens says officials were concerned about a big tank of diesel nearby. They contacted the airport, which sent its foam truck to help extinguish the blaze.

Smoke billowed toward homes on Halibut Point Road, but the fire was put out before evacuations became necessary.

Stevens says about 15 firefighters responded to the incident, which began just before 1:30 a.m. Monday. Firefighters were back at the station by 3 a.m., and on their way home about an hour later.

The equipment that caught fire is owned by Aggregate Construction Inc. Representatives of ACI’s Sitka office could not immediately be reached for comment.

It’s unclear whether the fire will impact the repaving of Baranof Street. Stevens, with the fire department, said the company was hopeful some of the asphalt could be salvaged. But officials in the city’s public works department also could not be reached for comment on Monday.

The street runs alongside two Sitka schools — Baranof Elementary and Pacific High School. Classes in both buildings are scheduled to begin next week.

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