State troopers have released the names of the men who went missing after a fire destroyed the old Chevak school last week.
The men are James Tikiun, age 22, and Dennis Slats, age 35. They were discovered missing after the fire, with no signs of having left the village, and have not been seen since. It’s unknown if the men perished in the fire.
The fire happened on March 8. Deputy fire marshals and Alaska State Troopers flew to Chevak to investigate on March 9, and left on March 10. Trooper spokesperson Austin McDaniel said that the investigators determined that the fire started underneath the old school building’s gym, and that the cause remains unknown.
They did not find any human remains in the debris, but their search was brief. Asbestos, along with other hazardous materials and chemicals, fills the site, and McDaniel says that the site will need to be treated before a more thorough search can occur. Also, a heavy snow fell on the site the day after the fire.
Chevak Vice Mayor Ulric Ulroan said that the community has begun talking with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation about options for cleaning the site. The community is also working to repair water and sewer pipes damaged by the fire. About 20 homes in Chevak are now in their second week without running water and sewer.