Historic Salcha Inn catches fire on New Year’s Eve

Historic Sno Shu Inn caught fire on New Year's Eve. (Sara Tewksbury/KTVF)
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska. (KTVF) Around 6:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, Salcha Fire & Rescue responded to reports of a structure fire at the old Sno Shu Inn.

“When we arrived on scene we had about 50 percent involvement on one end of the building, fire in the crawl space, fire in the attic of the building, and heavy flames showing about 50 percent,” said Fire Chief Tim Biggane of Salcha Fire & Rescue.

According to Biggane, when they arrived on scene, it was clear that the parking lot and driveway had not plowed all winter, so their access to the building was hampered. According to Biggane, they also could not go in parts of the building due to safety, so they had to do a lot of the work from outside the building.

Biggane says the building sustained substantial damage.

Seventeen firefighters from Eielson Fire Department, North Pole Fire Department, North Star Volunteer Fire Department, and Fort Wainwright Fire Department assisted the 16 Salcha Fire & Rescue volunteers on scene.

The last crews were pulled off the fire around 3 a.m. on New Year’s Day.

“The business has been shut down for seven to eight years. The building is currently for sale but there was nobody actively doing any business inside the building,” said Biggane.

Biggane says the owners are currently out of town on vacation but have been notified.

Residents in the area are asked to stay clear of the building.

“The building is hazardous. The owners are going to be dealing with getting it boarded up and closed, so there’s no reason to go in it. There’s nothing in there,” said Biggane.

There were footprints visible when first responders arrived on scene and they are asking for any information on whose footsteps they were. “We had some footsteps when we originally arrived on scene that we’re looking into. It could’ve been somebody who stopped and ran up to the building, we don’t know. We’ve put that request out that if you did do that, let us know so we know which angles to go on,” said Biggane.

Biggane says the area of origin of fire was somewhere in the basement, the crawl space underneath the storage area, or in the storage area of the building.

The building did have power but no heat, so they are still investigating the cause of the fire. Anyone with information can call the department at 907-488-5274 or email at chief@acsakaska.net.

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