St. Innocent’s Teacher Recounts Fighting Woody Island Fire



Volunteers from Saint Innocent’s Academy and the Kodiak Baptist Mission fought the Woody Island fire with buckets of water and sand on Wednesday. On page 2, buckets are loaded with sand in the shadow of buildings that were saved from the blaze. Photos courtesy Saint Innocent’s Academy

Jay Barrett/KMXT

When the wildfire Wednesday afternoon broke out on Woody Island, some people didn’t wait for an official response. Staff and students from Saint Innocent’s Academy and staff from the Kodiak Baptist Mission got together and took matters into their own hands.



(Seraphim 1 3 sec "We’re straight across Shahafka … Woody Island very well.")

That’s Seraphim Klinefelter, a teacher at Saint Innocents.

(Seraphim 2 30 sec "Father Paisius wanted to talk … flew over to Woody Island.")

He said they were in such a hurry that they may have broken the "No-Wake" speed limit in the Near Island Channel. Once they crossed the mile of open water to Woody Island, Klinefelter said the impromptu fire fighters wasted no time in attacking the blaze:

(Seraphim 3 30 sec "From the academy, we … ran towards the fire.")

He said they fought the fire at first with buckets of water and then sand, before a pump was used to draw water from a nearby pond:

(Seraphim 4 45 sec "There’s a yellow house and a … I’m not sure how far.")

Klinefelter said the experience of putting out the fire was gratifying and rewarding:

(Seraphim 5 48 sec "The most incredible thing … thing for two hours.")

He said that some of the students from the academy were so inspired by the firefighting that they want to explore smoke-jumping as a career. The academy members are well-known for their singing, but Klinefelter said they held off from breaking into song until after they were assured the fire was out. Besides, he said, there was too much smoke to draw a good breath.


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