Eagle River family escapes house fire


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A two-story log home located on Mile Hi Way in Eagle River caught fire on Monday, Sept. 10, 2012. A woman and her four children inside escaped the blaze unharmed.

Star photo by Matt Tunseth

An Eagle River woman and her four children escaped injury after the family's two-story log home caught fire around Noon on Monday, Sept. 10 on Mile Hi Way.

Dana Ouellette said she thinks the fire started in a wood stove upstairs. Ouellette said she started a fire in the stove, then went downstairs. Later, she heard a crackling coming from the roof of the home. When she went upstairs to investigate, she saw smoke and flames coming from the roof and immediately gathered up her children — ages 10, 5, 3 and 1 — and left the house.

"I told the kids to get out and I called 9-1-1 on my way down the steps," Ouellette said.

No one else was home at the time of the fire. Ouellette said her husband is currently deployed in Afghanistan as a member of the Army's 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division.

Ouellette said the family has been living in the home since November.

Anchorage Fire Department Capt. Steve Kostlin, with Station 11 in Eagle River, said units from AFD and the Chugiak Volunteer Fire Department responded to the fire, which took about an hour to get under control. Kostlin said crews were hampered by the home's steep uphill driveway and the fact that there were no fire hydrants in the area. Mile Hi Way is a steep road that runs up one side of the Eagle River Valley off of Eagle River Road.

"Any time we don't have a hydrant that puts a little bit of a crimp in our game," Kostlin said.

Kostlin said AFD and the CFVD worked together to use both departments' tender trucks to shuttle water to the blaze. He estimated about a dozen units responded to the fire, which was under control at around 1 p.m.

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