Unreported fire at Trident Seafoods could have endangered Alaska village, officials say

Fire sweeps along the mountainside of Akutan Island. Photo by Bill Newberry.
By  | 

AKUTAN, Alaska (KTUU) - A fire last night at the Trident Seafoods plant in Akutan went unreported to authorities, and according to the public safety officer in Akutan, it could have spelled disaster for the nearby village.

Monte Chitty, the Village Public Safety Officer for Akutan Island, said Monday that he was initially unaware that there had been a fire, namely because it had not been reported to him.

"It is a shame when I get an after-the-fact call from [KTUU] about a fire on an island 800 miles away from you," Chitty said in an email. "It wasn't reported."

After he contacted Trident, they confirmed that the fire had started in their trash pile before spreading elsewhere. "I'm upset, they put the whole village in danger by not reporting this," Chitty said.

According to an office clerk with Trident, management at the plant in Akutan refused to comment on the fire. The clerk, however, did say that the fire had been put out.

Despite this, the safety officer for the island said the fire should have been reported immediately, and the failure to do so could have been ruinous for the village.

"The rain last night helped," Chitty said, "But still the high winds that spread that fire could have easily driven the fire directly at the village. Trident's failure to report such a fire could have left the whole village in danger and without notice."

According to Chitty, this isn't the first time that Trident has failed to report a fire. Chitty said this one was caused by the burning of a trash pile, a common practice for the company, against the side of the cliff behind the plant.

As of this filing, Trident's corporate headquarters has not responded for comment.

Fire on Akutan Island near Trident Fish Plant.

Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station. powered by Disqus