Troopers Believe Homeowner Died in Wednesday Ketchikan Blaze

image11-09-2014 07.04.40Troopers believe that a Ketchikan man perished in a blaze on Blackberry Lane late yesterday afternoon after blockading the road to his home.

Troopers received a call reporting a fire and shots fired on Blackberry Lane in Ketchikan at 5:49 pm on Wednesday.The North Tongass Fire Department, Alaska State Troopers and Wildlife Troopers responded to the scene.

When troopers arrived, their investigation revealed that homeowner, 49-year-old Ralph Smith came out of his house and informed a family member that the house was on fire. He then proceeded to his vehicle with a firearm and drove a short distance down the road and parked his vehicle perpendicular to the road blocking it against traffic.

After he parked the vehicle, Smith fired a “couple of shots” off with his firearm, witnesses say. Witnesses also pointed out that Smith was not firing at anyone or anywhere in particular.

After firing his weapon, the witnesses were unable to say where Smith went. Troopers searched the area looking for Smith but were unsuccessful in locating him.

Troopers believe that “Smith went back into the burning home and perished,”  according to the trooper dispatch.

The blaze was eventually extinguished by the North Tongass Fire Department, but the home was a total loss. A Deputy Fire Marshal responded to the scene to investigate the fire. Troopers are investigating the circumstances around the fire dispatch states.

A search through the fire wreckage is ongoing in an attempt to locate Smith.