- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 11, 2014

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - A fire has destroyed a salmon-incubation building at the Crystal Lake Hatchery near Petersburg, killing more than 1 million incubating fish.

The Petersburg volunteer fire department was notified of the fire at 2:30 a.m. March 4, KFSK (ttp://bit.ly/1kKdJqV) reported. The hatchery is 18 miles south of Petersburg on Mitkof Island.

Volunteer fire department spokesman Dave Berg said the building was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived and decided to focus efforts on cooling the hatchery’s fuel tanks.

The destroyed fish included Chickamin River stock fish scheduled for Neets Bay and Anita Bay in 2015. Some of the 2015 eggs had already been moved from the incubation building and escaped the fire.

The hatchery buildings are owned by the state of Alaska. The hatchery, operated by the Ketchikan-based Southern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association, produces king and coho salmon.

The incubation room was destroyed, and the generator in a nearby shed was heavily damaged, said John Burke, general manager of the nonprofit association.

“Well basically the incubation room is the hatchery itself,” Burke said. “So right now the eggs in the hatchery are pretty well, or a good part of the eggs in the hatchery are pretty well destroyed right now.”

Between 1.2 million and 1.3 million eggs were lost, Burke said.

It’s probably not possible to replace the eggs from another hatchery facility. The loss to commercial fishing fleets could be valued at more than $1 million, he said.

The eggs were originally taken from the Chickamin River near Ketchikan and Andrews Creek, a Stikine River tributary near Wrangell.

No injuries were reported in the fire, which is under investigation.

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Information from: KFSK-FM, http://www.alaska.net/~kfsk/