Updated 2:40 p.m. with names of those injured in the fire, further details.
FAIRBANKS — Five people were injured in an explosion and fire at the Chevron station convenience store in Cantwell on Sunday night, according to Alaska State Troopers.
Troopers said an explosion about 6 p.m. blew out the windows in the store and deposited debris beyond the fuel pumps, which did not burn. The store was fully engulfed in flames when troopers arrived.
The fire was reported about 6 p.m. It destroyed the convenience store and spread to a diesel tank that firefighters were able to put out, Trooper Sgt. Mike Roberts said. Firefighters also were able to keep the flames away from the gasoline tanks and a propane tank on the side of the convenience store.
Several people, employees and customers, were inside the store and in the parking lot when
the explosion occurred, troopers said. One employee, Samuel Allan, 26, of Cantwell made several trips inside the burning store to make sure everyone was out. Allan was later transported to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital.
Another employee, Gale Andersen, 61, of Cantwell, suffered significant burns and was transported by ambulance to Providence Memorial Hospital in Anchorage for treatment. She was flown to Harborview Medical Center
in Seattle today. Also injured in the incident were Judith Riley, 70 of North Pole; Mathew Atkinson, 43, of Fairbanks; and Allen Glore, 58, of Cantwell. Riley and Glore were transported to FMH. Glore was later flown
to Providence in Anchorage for further treatment of his injuries.
Atkinson received treatment from emergency personnel on scene.
Fire departments from all along the Parks Highway responded to the fire, including Healy, Trapper Creek, Palmer and Nenana. The Anderson fire and rescue department was put on call to cover the highway during the emergency.
Conditions were poor with strong winds and heavy snowfall while the crews worked and drove to the scene.
“Of all the highways we had last night, the Parks was probably the worst,” Roberts said.
The fire wasn't extinguished until early Monday morning.
Investigators were on-scene today trying to determine what caused the explosion and fire. The Department of Environmental Conservation also was notified.