A small blaze ignited on Nome’s 3rd Avenue and Steadman Street this evening—damaging the warm up shack next to the city’s ice skating rink, and some of the gear inside.
Emergency dispatchers say the call went out at 9:01 p.m. with smoke spilling out of the one-story shack closest to 3rd Avenue, and within minutes, the Nome Volunteer Fire Department and Volunteer Ambulance Department were on scene.
“We had a little fire in the attic. Started in the back side,” said Nome Fire Chief Jim West Jr. “There’s two buildings together and the door was locked when I got here. Seems to be it’s in the inside where something electrical happened in there.”
West says no one was inside the building when the crew arrived and no injuries have been reported. While it appears to be an electrical issue, West says they’re not sure yet how the fire could have started.
Within 45 minutes, the fire crew had the blaze under control—and flames were never visible from the street. But accessing the source required firefighters to climb up onto the roof and peel back the shingles using a chainsaw and axe.
“What happened is it burnt through the wall and up through the eaves and up to the roof, and there was an air gap between the ceiling and there’s a layer of plywood there,” said West. “That’s why we had to vent and pull the roof.”
West says the Nome Winter Sports Association utilizes the gear shack but the City of Nome owns the lot. He estimates possibly $10,000 in damages.