NAPAKIAK, Alaska (AP) — UPDATE: A man who lives near the jail in Napakiak describes what he did as the building was on fire. Click video above to watch Channel 2's Hank Davis report from Napakiak.
An early morning fire at an Alaska jail killed two inmates and seriously injured a guard who was trying to release them, officials said.
Authorities did not immediately identify the victims of the fire Sunday in the village of Napakiak in southwest Alaska, the Anchorage Daily News reported Sunday.
Alaska State Troopers received a report around 1:30 a.m. that the jailhouse was “engulfed in flames” and that two prisoners inside their cells “were not able to get free” of their cells.
The injured guard was flown out of the community by a medivac helicopter. Two other guards escaped the building without reported injuries.
Aspects of the fire remain under question, including who operated the jail in the village of about 380 people southwest of Bethel, the newspaper reported.
It was not immediately known what the victims were in custody for and whether the building was equipped with smoke detectors.
A guard reported the blaze was the result of a prisoner setting fire to a mattress, but it was unclear how materials to start a fire got into a cell.
Two state troopers from Bethel, two fire marshals from Anchorage and an investigator with the Alaska Bureau of Investigation traveled to Napakiak to investigate Sunday, police said.
A 2018 survey of public safety facilities by the Association of Village Council Presidents found problems with windows, door locks and exterior stairs at Napakiak’s public safety building, although it was not immediately clear if that was the same location as the fire.
Information from: Anchorage Daily News, http://www.adn.com