EXPECT DELAYS – Lines of traffic move slowly down Sawmill Creek Road today as a repaving project progresses near the Indian River bridge. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Two Seriously Hurt In Fireworks Accident

By SHANNON HAUGLAND
Sentinel Staff Writer

Two young women were seriously injured in a fireworks accident Friday night as they watched the Fourth of July fireworks display some distance from the launch site on Japonski Island.

Friends identified the women as sisters Karen and Michelle Maytorenas of Sitka. They said both were taken to the hospital, and Karen was later medevacked to Seattle.

The exact details of what occurred are not clear, since everything occurred quickly and it was dark, said fire chief Dave Miller.

Miller said the sisters were among 30 or 40 people watching the display from about 150 yards from the launch site, and that all was going as planned until the finale, around midnight.

Miller, who was about 100 feet away from the launch site, said it was clear to him something had gone wrong because fireworks were going off at ground level.

“That was the longest 10 to 15 seconds -- it felt like a half-hour,” the chief said. “It happened so fast ... It looked like something fell over.”

He said it was not clear how the women were injured.

Although accidents involving professional fireworks displays are rare, an ambulance is always standing by as a precaution, Miller said.

He said EMTs responded quickly and took one of the women to the hospital. Her sister was taken to the hospital by a second ambulance responding to the scene, the chief said.

A GoFundMe fundraising effort for the sisters was started by Leona Pfeiffer, who works with Karen Maytorenas at Sitka Counseling. The website at press time today showed that over $6,100 toward the $10,000 goal had been collected in donations from 79 community members. Donations in cash and Alaska Airlines miles are being accepted, she said.

Karen Maytorenas is a 2017 graduate of Sitka High School and her sister Michelle just finished her sophomore year at Sitka High. 

Pfeiffer said other fundraisers are in the works. She said both of the young women grew up in Sitka, and while she does not know Michelle well, she said Karen is “the sweetest girl. She is so good with all the child clients here.”

A professional fireworks display has been a Sitka Fourth of July tradition for many years. Originally sponsored by Sheldon Jackson College, the fireworks display was taken over by Petro Marine in more recent years. After Petro announced that it would not sponsor the fireworks display this year because of coronavirus concerns, individual and business contributions raised the $19,000 cost to stage the pyrotechnic show.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You have no rights to post comments

August 5, 2020

A Note To Our Readers

Reopening: Phase One:

 

On March 30 the Daily Sitka Sentinel began taking precautions against the coronavirus, which was starting to show up in Alaska.

We closed our building to the public and four key employees started working remotely. Home delivery was suspended to protect our carriers from exposure to the virus.

Four months later, the virus is still with us and the precautions remain in effect.

In appreciation for the willingness of our subscribers to pick up their daily paper at drop-off sites, the Sentinel was free to all readers, and subscriptions were extended without charge.

As of August 1 the Sentinel is once again charging for subscriptions, but the present method of having subscribers pick up their papers at designated sites will continue.

The expiration date of all subscriptions has been extended without charge for an additional four months.

We thank our readers for their support in these uncertain times, and especially those who paid for the paper despite the free offer.

We look forward to the time when we can safely resume home delivery.

To check on the expiration of your subscription or to make a payment please call 747-3219. The subscription email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . We also will be mailing out reminder cards.

The single copy price is again 75 cents. The news racks do not require coins to open, but we ask that the 75 cents for a non-subscription single copy sale be paid with coins in the slot.

– The Sitka Sentinel Staff

 

Login Form

______________________

 

Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 8-7-20)

By Sentinel Staff

The state Department of Health and Social Services has posted the following update on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alaska as of 11:20 a.m. Friday.

New cases as of Thursday: 53

Total statewide – 3,536

Total (cumulative) deaths – 25

Active cases in Sitka – 20 (14 resident; 6 non-resident) *

Recovered cases in Sitka – 15 (11 resident; 4 non-resident) *

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 141.

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.

* These numbers reflect State of Alaska data. Local cases may not immediately appear on DHSS site, or are reported on patient’s town of residence rather than Sitka’s statistics. 

______________________

 

 

20 YEARS AGO
August 2000

High prices for chum salmon, low pink returns, and record numbers of fish in Deep Inlet have turned the Sitka fishing grounds into Route 66 this summer. “Overall it’s been a fantastic season so far,” said Steve Reifenstuhl, operations manager for the Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association.

50 YEARS AGO
August 1970

His Beatitude, Metropolitan Ireney, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, will head a gathering of Orthodox prelates from North American and abroad in ceremonies canonizing the first American Orthodox saints, Father Herman of Alaska. A group of Sitkans will fly to Kodiak for the event.

__________________ 

 

 

Facebook

calendar