A Seattle hospital said Tuesday that a 60-year-old Palmer man died after he was severely burned in an Oct. 3 trash fire, according to the state Division of Fire and Life Safety.
Division spokesperson Mahlon Greene says in a Thursday statement that the unnamed victim was initially taken to Mat-Su Regional Medical Center by a family member, without 911 assistance. He was then taken to Harborview due to the extent of his burns, but succumbed to his injuries.
“Because 911 was not activated, there was no response by the fire department or local (emergency medical services),” Greene wrote. “Details on the exact cause and events that led to this unfortunate accident are still under investigation by the Alaska State Troopers and the Central Mat-Su Fire Department.”
Greene says it’s important to make sure water or fire extinguishers are on hand before burning trash, with no dangerous items in burn barrels or trash piles. Flammable liquids shouldn’t be used to start a fire, and aerosol cans shouldn’t be added to one.
In addition, Greene says local regulations should be checked before starting any trash fire. The burning of plastics and petroleum-based products that emit toxic smoke is against the law.
According to Alaska State Fire Marshal Kelly Nicolello says 911 should be called for all fire or explosion emergencies, noting that the presence of emergency services can improve the chances of favorable outcomes in similar incidents.
“Fire safe behavior can keep a fire from starting,” Nicolello said. “Working smoke alarms, planning and practicing your fire escape plan and adding residential fire suppression sprinklers can ensure your family's safety from a fire.”
The man is Alaska’s 19th fire fatality in 2012.
Contact Chris Klint