- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 21, 2015

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - A boiler fire has sidelined the water purification system in the tiny village of Alatna in Alaska’s interior.

The community’s 27 residents can get potable water across the frozen Koyukuk River at the larger community of Allakaket, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner newspaper (https://is.gd/fRprFe) reported.

The April 15 fire in the community’s multipurpose building caused electrical damage that knocked the purification system off-line, according to Michelle Moses, acting tribal administrator of the Alatna Village Council.

Residents plan to store water while the river ice breaks up, Moses said. It should be safe to cross the river on foot for about two weeks, she said, then residents will travel by boat.

“Right now, we have our personal water buckets to fill up across the river. We’re going to try to keep them full until breakup happens,” Moses said. “We (also) have a couple of 200-gallon water tanks in the community and maybe we can fill those up and store some water there.”

Technicians are being brought to the village to determine the timing for repairs. The fire damaged the electrical panels in the 9-year-old building, which houses a small health clinic and a washeteria, as well as the water purification facility.

The cause of the fire is undetermined, according to Alaska State Troopers. A fire marshal flew to the village last week to investigate.

Moses said it appeared the blaze began at the diesel boiler’s intake valve. The fire put itself out.

Alatna is located about 190 miles northwest of Fairbanks.

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Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, https://www.newsminer.com

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