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Small Plane Crashes Into Alaska State Offices

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (CN) - A small plane crashed into a downtown Anchorage building housing offices for Alaska's departments of law and corrections and the state Attorney General early Tuesday, killing the pilot.

The plane reportedly crashed into the fourth story of the Brady Building in downtown Anchorage just after 6 a.m. National Transportation Safety Board personnel were on scene immediately following the crash, and Alaska Gov. Bill Walker had arrived just before 8 a.m., the Alaska Dispatch News reported.

The pilot, identified as 1st Lt. Doug Demarest, 42, of Anchorage, was not authorized to fly the Civil Air Patrol Cessna 172S, according to a Civil Air Patrol statement. Demarest joined the air patrol in 2010, the agency said.

Demarest reportedly flew in over Cook Inlet before hitting the fourth story of the Brady Building just after 6 a.m. The plane also struck an electrical transformer before coming to rest against the neighboring Carr Gottstein building. The resulting fire was extinguished quickly by Anchorage Fire Department personnel.

The newspaper also reported that Demarest was married to Kate Demarest, an attorney whose office is on the sixth floor of the office building first struck by the plane. She and members of the Anchorage office of the national law firm Dorsey and Whitney recently defended the Fairbanks Four, a high-profile case involving four men who were released earlier this month after 18 years in prison for murdering a teen.

By mid-afternoon, the Federal Bureau of Investigation had stepped in to assist local law enforcement with the investigation. A press conference is scheduled for later today to update the public, according to an FBI statement.

Investigators said they believe the crash is not connected to terrorism.

Electricity initially turned off to parts of downtown has been restored and several streets that were closed while officials investigated the crash have since reopened, according to the Anchorage Police Department.

Neither building sustained structural damage. Workers could be seen repairing cosmetic damage later in the day and nearby restaurants have opened for business.

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