Seavey fire

seavey arson

Dallas Seavey’s workshop/Facebook

First it was the heartache of a doped dog team in Nome, and now it’s a fire burning down the workshop of four-time Iditarod champ Dallas Seavey, formerly from Willow now from  Talkeetna.

Seavey has defended himself against the doping charges saying his seven-dog team was the victim of saboteurs inside or outside the Iditarod. Facebook friends of the musher are now suggesting the fire could be more sabotage.

“Wow. Did you find out what started this fire? Looks like sabotage to me,” Marsha McAllister Stuck posted on Seavey’s Facebook page four days ago. Others followed suit.

“That’s what I was thinking…hope we are wrong,” wrote Brenda Hunt Borden.

Seavey is in Norway preparing to run the Finnmarksløpet sled dog race, but has been posting regularly on Facebook since he left Talkeenta on Monday. He has offered no opinion on the cause of the shop fire or on the speculation there might have been more sabotage.

Eric Chappel, the Talkeetna fire chief, said the fire department was never notified of the blaze, but did later learn of it. Seavey was not required to report it. The area in which he lives about 100 miles north of Anchorage is rural bordering on wild.

“It’s (actually) outside of our fire service area,” Chappel said, “(but) we respond outside the fire service area.”

The Talkeetna Fire Department has a rich tradition of jumping in wherever it can to help in a broad swath of territory that surrounds the small resort community that serves as the jumping off point for Mount Denali.

Chappel said he received no report of anything suspicious about the fire, “nothing that he’s told us.”

Seavey’s only comment about the fire came in a Monday Facebook post summing his preparations for the Finnmarksløpet.

“We have been ridiculously busy getting everything moved over to Norway so have not had time to share our adventure,” it began. “Now I want to get you all up to speed and hope to have regular updates over the next few weeks as we lead up to the Finnmarksøpet.(sic)”

The post then described Seavey’s last training run and a post-run nap interruped by a handler “yelling at me that the shop was on fire. Really??? I guess what Grandpa Seavey once told me is still true, ‘Nothing is ever so bad that it can’t get worse!’

“I stumbled outside as Christian drug my race sled out of the shop that was fully on fire. He had gone in to make sure there were no animals inside and quickly saw that it was empty of living beings. He then registered that it was incredibly hot, grabbed the sled that had just been put in the shop to thaw, and ran out.

‘Fortunately, the sled was full of all the mushing gear we had just been using so all that was saved, but everything else went up in flames. Bad news is everything in our work shop is gone; good news is that packing just got a lot easier as we don’t have anything left to pack. I guess you have to look for the silver linings.”

The reference to the sled having “just been put in the shop to thaw” would indicate the structure was in some way heated. It was 3 degrees below zero Sunday night into Monday morning in Talkeenta.

Many people in the area heat with wood, especially in small out buildings. Chappel said woodstove fires are too common and offered a reminder everyone should clean their smoke stacks.

And as with the doping of Seavey’s dog team in Nome, sabotage cannot be totally ruled out. Unless someone actually saw how the fire began, a saboteur could have sneaked into the shop, opened the door on a woodstove and exposed the place to a fire, or tipped over an electric or kerosene heater.

Some of Seavey’s Facebook friends think Seavey enemies might have taken the family pet, too.

“I think it’s all connected….I never thought that Ruby got lost or just wandered off. That was the first time I wondered if someone was aiming at Dallas and Jen,” Frances Walker-McCampbell wrote on his Facebook while observing what she took to be a suspicision fire.

“I agree,” added Tricia Cole. “It’s so sad to think someone would do these things intentionally but when you look back at all that is/has happened it’s hard to just think it’s a coincidence.”








15 replies »

  1. Dallas Seavey routinely takes dogs into his workshop to use a blow torch to burn the fur off dog paws. He learned to do this from his dad, Mitch Seavey. In all probability, one of Dallas’s employees was trying to burn fur off a dog’s paw and set the workshop on fire.

    • Oh snap! My 11 year old daughter just read Mitch’s book, and confirmed that they do indeed singe the fur off dogs’ paw’s with a torch. Sorry Lisbeth, looks like you were right

      • You seem to frame it as a form of abuse, when it fact it is a simple health care measure to prevent ice buildup between their webbing. That’s what threw me, initially.

      • Jason, using a blow torch is a form of abuse. The flame 🔥 and/or the heat from it are too hot for paws and can easily cause painful injuries. Dogs aren’t statues. They move around.

      • That’s like saying a woman getting a perm at the hairdresser is suffering from abuse. The Seavey’s treat their paws this way as a preventative health measure which causes them no pain or discomfort, and conflating it with abuse is a sign of irrationality.

      • Oh, snap, snap! If using a blow torch was a great idea, other mushers would use one, too. But, most don’t. By the way, you know nothing about women getting permanents. First and foremost, getting a permanent is something a woman decides to have done. Dog don’t decide to have their fur burned by a blow torch.

  2. Craig,
    It is hard to follow your logic on this one…
    Dallas and his handler were home when this fire started?… yet you feel “Someone may have slipped in and opened up a woodstove”.
    Honestly, there is like 2 & 1/2 feet of snow in the woods right now.
    It would be impossible to “sneak around” someone’s property without leaving tracks.
    Secondly, Have you ever tried to sneak up to a dog lot?
    I lived next to them for years and the dogs go nuts when someone walks in their area unexpectedly…better than ADT Security Systems.
    Maybe the women who think this is “sabotage” on FB should ask Dallas what type of heater was turned on to melt out his iced up equipment?
    Loss from fire is sad, I feel for him there…but to allow false accusations to flourish on FB just attracts more bad Karma, something Dallas may be suffering from already.

    • Steve: There is little logic. I simply offered up the only realistic possibility for sabotage.We don’t know that there WEREN’T tracks, and given the snowmachine easily visible in the photo there must be a snowmachine trail in and out of the property. People leave tracks in snowmobile trails, but if the trails are well set up, not much. And dogs? Sometimes they go off and sometimes they don’t. A team tired after a long, long days run? They might sleep through a prowler. It is possible. Remotely possible. You’ve focused on the probable. I try to keep the probable out of straight news stories, but with that said, I agree with you on the probable here. Everyone should be asking what sort of heating unit was turned up to thaw that equipment. But I don’t have the information to call the speculation false. Dallas might. Hopefully he will post on his FB to clarify that it wasn’t saboteurs, or maybe he, too, thinks it was. All things i don’t know and can’t get answers. Forget the Karma and feel a little sympathy for the gun. Pain to lose your gear shed to fire no matter the reason.

      • Why do you choose to leave “probable” out of straight news stories?
        Is this to create dialogue in the community?
        As for losing gear in a fire, I know how this feels, shity.
        Like my insurance agent told me after the Sockeye Fire….stuff can be replaced, but luckily no one was injured.
        As for the FB crowd…they could be Russian robots for all you know.

      • Dallas: i can only wish Russian robots would find me and boost traffic! just kidding. the line between possible and probable is a very subjective call. if i was writing a news analysis or commentary here, i wouldn’t blink at calling this one. but in a straight news story? just throw the facts out there and let people decide. i think there’s plenty of information there for people to form their own opinions.

  3. That’s terrible news about the fire, but it could have been a whole lot worse. Hopefully their homeowner insurance policy covers their outbuildings.

    Also, the conspiracy theory stuff sounds pretty nuts.

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