Fire destroys Eagle River Valley home

Thursday, November 16, 2017 - 14:26
  • Anchorage Fire Department crews returned to a fire at a home off Eagle River Road after it flared up Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017. The fire was initially reported just before 5 a.m. and declared out around 7:30 a.m., but crews returned after getting a call at 9:18 a.m. that flames had reappeared. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)

Firefighters returned to the scene of an early-morning Oct. 31 house fire in the Eagle River Valley that sent two people to the hospital with minor injuries after flames reappeared from the structure.

According to Anchorage Fire Department chief Denis LeBlanc, crews were called back to a home located off Eagle River Road at around 9:18 a.m. Tuesday after the fire — which was declared out at around 7:30 a.m. — reappeared at the location.

“Apparently what’s happened is the structure has collapsed into the basement, so you’ve got fire trapped beneath the structure,” LeBlanc said at around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Just after noon, department vehicles could be seen driving in and out of the area, which is located in near mile 6 of Eagle River Road.

AFD deputy chief Jodie Hetrick said firefighers were first called just before 5 a.m. for a house fire reported on the 24000 block of Eagle River Road. Hetrick said between 20 and 24 total units originally arrived on the scene, including two water tenders from the Chugiak Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department.

“There are no hydrants in that area,” Hetrick said of the location.

The Chugiak tenders provided water to fight the blaze, which was “fully involved” when firefighters arrived on scene.

“There were also a lot of vehicles around the structure that made extinguishment difficult,” she said.

Hetrick said she could not provide any information about the extent of the injuries suffered by the occupants of the home, but said they appeared to be relatively minor. She said the cause of the fire was under investigation, and used the opportunity to warn people against going back inside burning buildings — a temptation she said can often prove deadly.

“Usually that’s a recipe for disaster,” she said.

Chief LeBlanc said crews would likely be on scene for most of the afternoon Tuesday trying to flood the basement of the home. He said the homeowners were working with a private contractor to try and further demolish the structure, which was completely destroyed.

Although Eagle River Road was closed early Tuesday morning while the active fire was being fought, LeBlanc said he didn’t expect the road to be shut down for the mop-up efforts of the still-smoldering home. Hetrick said the Anchorage Police Department provided traffic support, enabling school buses and limited traffic to pass through in the morning while crews worked the fire.

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