Sitka fire kills two in their trailer home

Posted: Tuesday, March 06, 2001

A man and a woman who recently moved to Sitka were the apparent victims of a fire in their trailer on Monday.

Officials have not released the names of the couple, but said their bodies were found in the charred wreckage of an Airstream trailer reported on fire about 3:40 a.m. Monday.

Sitka Police Department Chief Bill McLendon said homicide is not suspected.

"We treat crime scenes and death scenes as if they were a homicide as far as steps to follow in an investigation," McLendon said. "That way we make sure we are focused and thorough."

Police received multiple 911 calls about the blaze in the travel trailer parked on a piece of property owned by a Sitka cab company, McLendon said. The trailer was the residence of a cab company employee. A man and woman who had been in town four or five months had been reported living in the trailer for about 30 days.

When police arrived, the trailer was half engulfed in flames. Firefighters arrived about a minute later, and the trailer was fully engulfed 10 minutes after the initial alarm. All that was left was the floor, McLendon said.

When firefighters combed through the ashes, they found two bodies on the floor in the rear of the trailer where the bedroom would have been. Two fire marshals from Juneau flew in to assist and went through the debris.

"They don't think they are going to be able to determine the cause of the blaze because all the evidence is melted with the intense heat. It was probably an accident," McLendon said.

The bodies were sent to the medical examiner's office in Anchorage for autopsies.

"We have some names. We had reports a male and a female lived in there, but the bodies were burned beyond recognition and we could not verify gender," McLendon said.

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