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2017 Fire in Alaska Report Released

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The Division of Fire & Life Safety (FLS) has published the Fire in Alaska 2017 to its website. The report details fire fatality and injuries across Alaska. The report is a compilation of data that was provided to FLS from 170 Fire Departments. It also contains information regarding treatment of burns at clinics and medical centers. FLS would like to thank all the fire departments that contributed to the report.
 
There were 19 fire deaths in Alaska in 2017, a 6% increase from the previous year. Of those deaths, six were children under the age of 10. Additionally, juvenile firesetters were responsible for igniting 22% of all intentionally set fires. These deaths and incidents show that more education is needed to warn of the dangers fires (matches, lighters and other open flames) pose to families.
 
“We are watching statistics closely on fire deaths and injuries because the lives of Alaskans matter,” said David Tyler, Alaska Fire Marshal. “What we are seeing are deaths and injuries that are preventable and the trends give us important clues to how we can make Alaska safer.”
 
Another way of combating fires is prevention through making building as safe as possible by having thorough plan reviews completed.  Plan reviews are necessary for any construction, repair, remodel, addition, or change of occupancy in any commercial structure in order to ensure safety and compliance with state law. Due to budget reductions, wait times for plan review approvals had jumped to over two months in some cases. The Division of Fire & Life Safety’s Plan Review Bureau continues to pursue innovative ways to decrease the amount of time plan reviews and approvals take. The Plan Review Bureau has changed queue management practices and fast-tracked simpler plans to help reduce wait times.
 
Every 11 hours a fire department in Alaska in 2017 respond to a residential fire.
 
The full report can be found online at https://dps.alaska.gov/getmedia/99aae84c-403a-417a-96c2-26146d5a6e27/Fire-In-Alaska-2017d.
 
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Alaska State Troopers Release Statement on Ashley Johnson-Barr Investigation

KOTZEBUE, Alaska – Alaska State Troopers have released the following statement regarding investigation into the disappearance of 10-year-old Ashley Johnson-Barr, who was last seen on Thursday, September 6:
 
“After eight days, the search for Ashley has come to an unfortunate end. Late this afternoon, Ashley was located deceased by law enforcement and volunteer canvas teams in an area east of the City of Kotzebue. Alaska State Troopers, the FBI, Kotzebue Police Department, and the Northwest Arctic Borough extend our sincerest condolences to Ashley’s family, friends, and community.
 
“Investigation remains ongoing. No additional information is available at this time; further updates will be provided as more details are available.”

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Alaska State Troopers Shift Focus of Search Efforts for Ashley Johnson-Barr

KOTZEBUE, Alaska – Alaska State Troopers have released the following statement regarding the ongoing search and rescue operation and investigation into the disappearance of 10-year-old Ashley Johnson-Barr, who was last seen on Thursday, September 6. State Troopers remain the lead agency on the case:
 
“For the last seven days, in addition to assisting the search and rescue efforts for Ashley, law enforcement has been investigating the circumstances surrounding her disappearance to get a clearer understanding of events surrounding the time frame she was last seen. The investigation has been operating parallel to search and rescue operations. Given the length of time that Ashley has been missing and the exhaustive efforts that have yet to result in her being found and reunited with family, as of this morning, we are shifting our focus towards the ongoing law enforcement investigation, including whether criminal activity may have been involved in her disappearance.
 
“We will continue some of the ongoing search and rescue operations in coastal areas, and in and around water access. Law enforcement will also continue to pursue leads, follow up on tips, and engage with community members. At this juncture in the case, we need the public’s help and engagement in our efforts. We urge anyone who may have details or knowledge of Ashley’s disappearance or whereabouts to come forward with that information so it can be investigated. Tips from the Kotzebue area can be called or texted in to 907-995-3890. Those outside Kotzebue desiring to provide information should dial 907-451-5100, and reference case number AK18064447.
 
“For now, the additional law enforcement resources that have been in place in Kotzebue will remain, search operations will continue, and leads and tips will be given proper attention.  Again, we are confident that someone in this community knows what happened to Ashley and needs to come forward and share that information with us.
 
“The Alaska State Troopers are grateful to the Alaska Incident Management Team, the FBI, the city of Kotzebue, the Northwest Arctic Borough, and the many others who gave their time, resources, and assistance in the search for Ashley. We ask that people keep Ashley, her family, and the community here in their thoughts and prayers, and remain hopeful that she will still be found.” Read More