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One killed in Levelock fire

By Hope Miller 3:54 PM May 16, 2014

One person was killed and another narrowly escaped a fire in Southwest Alaska Thursday morning, authorities said.

Around 3:30 a.m., Alaska State Troopers in Dillingham received a report of a residence on fire with a possible fatality in Levelock, a Bristol Bay community with a population of about 70.

Levelock resident Charles Andrew, 70, was able to escape, but believed that 59-year-old Katherine Achayok of Pilot Point wasn’t able to get out, according to a Friday trooper report.

Andrew suffered burns from trying to help Achayok and had to jump through a window to save himself, troopers said.

King Salmon AST arrived around 9:30 a.m. and a deputy fire marshal from Anchorage responded in the evening, troopers said. The residence was a total loss.

According to a preliminary investigation, Andrew had gone to bed around 10 p.m. Wednesday while Achayok stayed up watching TV, troopers said.

Both had been smoking cigarettes on the outside porch where a can reserved for cigarette butts was stowed nearby, troopers said.

The cause of the fire isn’t known at this time, but “appears accidental in nature,” the trooper report said. “The fire appears to have originated near the porch of the residence.”

Remains, that are believed to be those of Achayok, will be sent to the State Medical Examiner’s Office for identification and autopsy. Achayok’s next-of-kin were notified about the fire by community members and troopers.

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