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Updated: Troopers say Two Rivers Lodge fire is being investigated as arson

Published: Aug. 23, 2021 at 11:07 AM AKDT|Updated: Aug. 24, 2021 at 7:30 AM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Update: The Alaska State Troopers are investigating the Two Rivers Lodge fire as an arson. The lodge caught fire around midnight Monday morning. A press release that was recently published said the Deputy Fire Marshall’s officer determined the fire was incendiary in nature.

According to an employee of the Two Rivers Lodge, there were five people in the building when it caught fire. Debbie Campbell was a server at the restaurant and worked there the day before it burned. She said the bar was still open when the fire started.

“They were in the bar and the front door was over here and they could see the glow. And once they seen the glow they came out and then ran upstairs to get Raye-Jean out.”

Campbell said she worked at the lodge for six years and then took a few years off before going back to the job a few months ago.

“It’s devastating, it’s absolutely devastating. I mean, I can get another job anywhere but these people have been my family for the last nine years,”

After the early morning fire destroyed the Two River Lodge on Chena Hot Springs Road, many came to the site of the restaurant to see the damage and remember.

“I just needed to come sit and say a prayer. This just massively sucks,” said Dianna Hemmen, a resident of North Pole who has eaten at the lodge multiple times. She said she runs an Airbnb down the road and sent all of her guests to eat at the lodge.

“It’s a big deal. It’s a freaking big deal you guys, this has to stop,” Hemmen said.

Sean Young said when he heard about the fire he had to come see the damage.

“I was in shock. I got texted by my nephew and come to find out there has been, I believe 11, fires out here in the recent days and I was astonished that this had happened,” Young said.

He said that he has been going to the lodge since the 1970s, “When friends and family would come up from the states we would bring them out here as well. I do remember my sister coming for a visit and seeing her first moose right across the road in the pond and we had dinner here so it was a fond memory.”

Troopers are asking anyone with information about the fire to call them at 451-5100 or anonymously on the AST website or through the AKtips app.

Original Story: The popular Two Rivers Lodge at mile 16 of Chena Hot Springs Road burned to the ground early Monday morning. The building was outside of a fire service area so no fire departments responded to the fire.

The community of Two Rivers has been terrorized by a rash of arsons over the summer. At least 10 fires are suspected to be arson.

It is unclear if the Two Rivers Lodge fire is suspected to be arson. Alaska State Trooper spokesman Austin McDaniel said in a text message stating, “It’s too early in the investigation to determine if this morning’s fire is connected to the string of arsons that occurred earlier this summer in the Two Rivers area.” He confirmed that the troopers and the Deputy Fire Marshal’s office is investigating the incident.

No injuries were reported in the fire but there are reports that someone was living in the building when it burned down.

This is a developing story and we will continue to update the story as additional information becomes available.

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