What happened to Gary Muehlberger on Port Protection?

Gary Muehlberger was a beloved star of the Life Below Zero spinoff Port Protection. Gary was a lifelong citizen of Port Protection, a remote below zero town in the Alaskan wilderness. Muehlberger allowed the cameras to film his life, earning plaudits for how he lived life in the cold. 

Life below zero is challenging and unique, attracting viewers, but it can prove risky to the people living there. One mistake or malfunctioning equipment can have disastrous consequences. 

Alaskan authorities ruled Gary’s tragic death an accident after a fire swept through his house. 

On 17th March 2021, Alaska State Troopers received reports that Gary Muehlberger’s home was on fire and he was missing. 

Bad weather and the area’s remoteness prevented fire marshals from getting to Gary’s house in time. Authorities believed Gary to have been home at the time of the fire. 

Neighbors reported ‘seeing human remains in the fire ashes,’ per Anchorage Daily News. Authorities refrained from confirming Gary’s death before examining the said remains. 

Nearly a week after the fire, Alaska State Troopers confirmed that they found human remains in the debris. Several days later, The Alaska State Medical Examiner identified the remains as Gary Muehlberger and notified his next of kin. 

It is believed that the fire started as Gary fixed his propane hot water tank, which exploded in the process. His fire extinguisher failed to stop the fire, and rescue workers could not arrive in time. 

Life Below Zero announced Gary’s death via a statement posted on its Twitter page:

“We’re extremely saddened to learn of the passing of Gary Muehlberger, a legend of the Port Protection Alaskan community and the Life Below Zero franchise. He had an incredibly big heart, epitomized so much of the human spirit and welcome the world into his life with open arms. He will be deeply missed.”