Whittier fuel dock burns, two injured

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The fuel dock at the Whittier harbor burned on Tuesday. Responding to the fire were units from the Whittier police and emergency services, as well as Girdwood’s fire and rescue department. Two people were evacuated by air from Whittier for medical care in Anchorage. The tunnel to Whittier was closed for several hours to give emergency responders clear access in and out of Whittier.

People in the area reported hearing a loud noise and then seeing the flames. Firefighters had the fire under control by about 2:40.

At noon, Girdwood Fire and Rescue reported that Girdwood Rescue 41, Utility 41, Medic 41, C41, and Tender 41 were responding. Two LifeMed helicopters assisted with transporting the two injured patients.

The Whittier harbor had a fire that impacted one of the floats earlier this year, and longer term solutions are still being worked on. On June 16, the City of Whittier reported that “fire-damaged floats were replaced Monday night through Tuesday this week, and staff made them fully functional for your weekend adventure.”

All three fuel pumps operated at the Shoreside Petroleum fuel dock are destroyed, and the boat in which the fire originated sank while tied to the dock. There will be no fuel available at Whittier for the near future, which means both recreational and commercial vessels will have to find fuel elsewhere, a logistical problem for all, and a financial setback for many.

12 COMMENTS

  1. PSA: Never leave your engines running while fueling.

    I watched the catamaran in Seward burn to the waterline several years ago. The owner left the engines on, and poof, she went up.

    Hope the injuries are minor.

    • Not sure. Part of the package done sell is the AK rail from Whittier to Denali.

      If they need fuel there, it may be cheaper to tanker it in than refund the money.

      Not to mention the potential losses to the nominal tourism industry there.

      This sucks for Whittier in so many ways.

  2. There’s this switch on the dashboard of your boat labeled “Bilge Blower” or something like that. You turn that on at least five minutes or so before you pull up to the fuel dock and your boat is much less likely to explode, kill you, and burn the fuel dock down. There is a price for being an idiot.

  3. Actually, it was the fuel PIER that burned. A dock is the space where a ship is tied-up or berthed, a pier is the structure that adjoins and allows access to the dock. Many people make this mistake.

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