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Names of Caswell fire victims released

by Sue Deyoe ~ November 10th, 2010

The names of the four people who perished in Tuesday’s trailer fire near mile 87 of the Parks Highway have been released. The deceased are tentatively identified as 43 year old Vannaphone Soundara, 23 year old Azrealle Stewart, 4 year old Akson Soundara and one year old Kayson Soundara. Troopers state that not all individuals died as a result of the fire.

The state medical examiner is still in the process of examining the remains to establish the identity and furthermore the cause of death. The bodies were found in the completely burned down trailer building. The catastrophic fire happened in the early morning hours on Tuesday, November 9 when a motorist driving by notified 911. Trooper Terrence Shanigan was the first responder at the scene and said the fire had reached the ceiling when he arrived. It rapidly spread to engulf the entire structure and a nearby parked car. He described the structure as a 70 foot long by 30 foot wide trailer with numerous add-ons and lean-to additions. Firefighters from five Fire Service Areas responded and extinguished the blaze before they discovered the remains of 4 people inside. According to officials, everything burned to the ground, leaving the investigators with little evidence to go on. Two state medical examiners arrived at the scene on Tuesday morning to examine the remains and transported the bodies to Anchorage for a thorough examination.

Different state agencies are now investigating the cause and the circumstances that led to the deadly fire. Fire marshal John Bond declined to comment beyond the fact that the fire is under investigation and urging people to check or install fire alarm systems. The Alaska Bureau of Investigation, an investigative branch of the Alaska State Troopers, stepped in to help the patrol trooper with additional investigative manpower. Investigator David Bower explained that his agency becomes involved when a fire is undetermined and to see if foul play is involved.

Trooper Shanigan said that officials encountered great challenges as they try to notify the victims’ family. He said that after the victims have been identified, the investigation will turn to the How and Why of circumstances that led to the blaze.

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