An Auburn man who worked on fishing boats in Alaska for 60 years died this week from injuries he suffered from a sudden flood of ammonia on his vessel, his family said.
Charles “Chuck” Baker, 82, had gone north most fishing seasons since 1953, after he left the Navy the year before.
He and son Mike co-owned the Eigil B — a cannery tender boat used to transport fish that was named for a member of a family that founded Petersburg, Alaska.
They had left for Alaska about a week before the accident, which occurred Monday in Sitka.
That’s when something malfunctioned on the vessel, causing the refrigeration system Baker was doing a routine check on to unexpectedly dump ammonia from a valve, burning more than 40 percent of his body.
Baker’s 20-year-old grandson, Steven, also was on the boat and helped lead his father and grandfather away from the hazard.
Baker was the only person seriously injured. He was ultimately flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where he died Tuesday.
He is survived by his wife, Reona, two sons and four grandchildren.
A celebration of Baker’s life is being planned for sometime after fishing season in accordance with family wishes.
“He was doing what he loved to do,” son Andy Baker said Wednesday. “He loved being up in Alaska on the boats.”Alexis Krell: 253-597-8268