FAIRBANKS — Gov. Sean Parnell has signed a disaster declaration that will open up money to help a rural community rebuild a fire-damaged public utility building.
The August blaze in the village of Dot Lake, about 150 miles southeast of Fairbanks, left five homes without heat or water and most of the community without laundry or shower facilities.
Tanana Chiefs Conference and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium provided two boilers and three water pressure tanks to get heat and water to the affected homes, but disaster relief funding is required to replace the laundry and shower facilities.
Parnell estimated it will cost more than $1.6 million to recover from the fire. The funds will be used to rebuild the laundry and shower facilities, as well as to pay for work that already has been done, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.
“Utility repairs and emergency response are critical to prevent serious threats to life, public health, and public safety,” he wrote in a letter to legislative leaders requesting their agreement that the money be provided without calling the Legislature into special session.
Dot Lake Tribal Council President Bill Miller said crews are already building a small structure to house the boilers and water tanks, but other projects will have to wait until spring.
“The emergency response costs are rolled into that $1.6 million,” said Jeremy Zidec, spokesman for the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. “It includes any fuel costs, things like debris removal, or water that had to be delivered.”