Two auctioneers and a group of passersby on Sunday found themselves putting out fires off Pasagshak Road using soda bottles and similar containers to douse flames.
Cliff Brulotte and Scott Fisher of Alaska Auction Co in Anchorage, in town for an auction on Monday, were out sightseeing near the missile launch facility when they literally drove into a blaze allegedly set off by a couple indulging in fireworks pranks.
“As we went around the corner, another car was coming our way and they threw fireworks out of the window... and we saw the smoke afterwards. Then, less than a tenth of a mile (down the road) was another fire started in the grass and we assume it was them too,” said Brulotte.
That prompted Brulotte, the auction manager, and Fisher, the auction sales clerk, to discuss whether they could battle the blaze as they saw the small brush fire expand in the wind.
“The funny part of the story is, I had just bought a large Diet Coke from McDonald’s. And Fisher said, ‘I’m going to be able to put that fire out with this cup.’ There was a little stream next to the fire by the road. And I said, ‘You’re not going to be able to put that out. There’s no way.’ But he went out there and did it anyway and I called 911.”
Fisher explains the great irony was that a motorist pulled over to help with a large water tank on his truck. But they were unable to get any water pressure from the tank. “So he pulled out a Dixie cup and began to help with that,” Fisher said.
“Pretty soon we had 12 people stopped from the road out there helping,” Brulotte said. “It would have been huge in no time. It was slightly windy and it was fanning the flames big-time.” The crew and their enlisted fire support were able to get the flames doused within 30 minutes.
The fire’s size was debatable. Dale Rice, chief of the Women’s Bay Fire Department, was not convinced the fire was threatening much of everything.
“The fact that the passersby put it out, meant that it was a small one. There were no structures threatened. It probably was not going to go anywhere. It was good they put it out,” he said.
As for the alleged perpetrators of the fire, Rice does not see much hope of identifying them. “We have no license plate and no identification. There’s not much to do.”