2 fires mark end of weekend

Two structure fires busied local emergency responders at the end of Veterans Day weekend. The fires resulted in no injuries.

The first fire occurred Sunday afternoon. At 1:43 p.m., Central Emergency Services received a report of a structure fire along the Sterling Highway in Soldotna according to a CES press release.

The residence is located on the same lot as the Pour House restaurant; Soldotna businessman Norm Blakely owns both buildings.

When fire fighters arrived on scene the building’s manager, a neighbor and some good Samaritans had extinguished the fire. The building sustained about $500 of damage to an exterior wall, according to the press release.

Blakely, who leases out the property to his daughter, described the damage as “nothing major.”

“But it could’ve been,” he said. “The siding caught on fire, but they put it out quickly. And the fire fighters checked the basement inside. Everything was OK.”

Investigation of the fire showed that garbage had been placed next to the wall of the building and ignited. A nearby business’s employee discovered the fire and called for help.

“A bag of garbage was discovered on the side of the house. It could’ve came from a number of dumpsters,” CES Health and Safety Officer Brad Nelson said. “There’s really no other possible source of ignition. The garbage did not belong there.”

No one witnessed the incident, Nelson said.

The Soldotna Police Department offered no additional details about the suspected arson.

CES officials and the Police Department continue to investigate the suspicious fire.

Early Monday morning, fire fighters responded to a second structure fire. At 3:11 a.m., CES responded to the report of a fire at Self Street in Sterling. A neighbor reported hearing an explosion, Nelson said.

Fire fighters arrived on scene within four minutes of receiving the call and observed a 500-square-foot structure engulfed in flames, according to another CES press release.

The makeshift shack was unoccupied at the time, Nelson said.

Fire fighters extinguished the flames in about 15 minutes. They saved most of the exterior walls. But fire, heat and smoke had damaged the roof and interior, according to the press release.

CES considered the home a total loss. The estimated value of the residence is $5,100.

Investigators indicated the kitchen as the fire’s point of origin, but the cause is unknown, Nelson said. The investigation continues.

Jerzy Shedlock can be reached at jerzy.shedlock@peninsulaclarion.com.

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