A fire in Chiniak did extensive damage to a home there when a banya burnt down to the ground on Monday near mile 42 of the Chiniak Highway. Alaska State Troopers were notified of the blaze at 11:57 pm.
Homeowner Doug Stewart had lit the banya on Monday for a Monday evening steam-bath. He invited two other individuals, Jonathon Botz and Anne Deshasier, over for a steam.
Deshasier entered the banya to bathe first and mistakenly grabbed what she thought was a pail of water from the dressing room to pour on the banya rocks, but the liquid in the pail was fuel oil and not water as she believed. When the fuel oil hit the hot stove, it immediately ignited and caught the structure on fire, according to the trooper investigation.
“Botz was able to help Deshasier get out of the banya, but not before they both received major burns on their bodies,” the trooper dispatch states.
After saving Deshasier from the blaze, Botz drove her to the Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center, where they were both admitted to emergency for treatment of their burns. Although Botz would be later released, Deshasier was transported to Seattle on Tuesday for further treatment of her burn injuries.
The banya burned so hot that it also did damage to Stewart’s home as well. Estimates of damage is in the range of $20,000.
Troopers believe that the fire was accidental in nature with no evidence of criminal activity. The State Fire Marshal has been notified of the incident.
The community of Chiniak is at the southern end of the Kodiak road system on Kodiak Island.