By Melinda Munson

Dec. 8 was a tragic day for a town already struggling with a pandemic, an economic downturn and a natural disaster. Three residents, not connected to each other, died within a 12-hour period, all apparently from natural causes.

According to Skagway Fire Chief Joe Rau, his staff received a report of a non-responsive female at 8:06 a.m. Around 8:30 a.m., Fire Chaplain Cindy Rau was called to assist the deceased’s family members.

A second call came at 1:12 p.m. This time the victim was an unresponsive male found by an IGA employee. Rau estimates the male had been dead “no more than a day.”

A third call came at 4:42 p.m., an unresponsive female.

‘We’re approaching Christmas, it’s just heartbreaking for families,” Rau said.

All three deaths are still under investigation but “appear to have died from natural causes,” Rau said.

In total, the fire department has four responders with some additional volunteers. 

“They really stepped up to the pressure and stress of yesterday. I’m very proud of them,” Rau said.