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Photo by M. Scott Moon
Smoke and steam obscure firefighters as they work to extinguish a fire that consumed two residences early Thursday in Soldotna.

Early morning fire destroys 2 homes

Posted: December 20, 2012 - 2:53pm  |  Updated: December 20, 2012 - 3:03pm
Flames rise as first responders attack the fire.  Photo by M. Scott Moon
Photo by M. Scott Moon
Flames rise as first responders attack the fire.

A man suffered minor injuries and two dogs died after a motor home caught fire early Thursday in Soldotna. The fire destroyed the motor home as well as a fifth wheel RV trailer, both of which were being lived in.

The fire originated in the motor home. Investigators determined a dog likely caused the fire by knocking over a kerosene heater, said Central Emergency Services safety officer Brad Nelson.

“There were a couple witnesses, but no one saw the dog knock the heater over,” Nelson said. “We’re 99 percent sure that the dog caused it.”

The heater’s fuel spilled and ignited, catching combustible materials around it on fire, according to a CES press release.

Medics treated the injured man, the occupant of the fifth wheel, on scene. A third dog ran from the fire and is missing, and a fourth dog and cat were located unharmed, according to the press release.

At 6:49 a.m., CES responded to Delta Avenue in Soldotna for the report of a motor home on fire. Responders arrived within five minutes and found the motor home and the fifth wheel, parked just a few feet away, fully engulfed in flames, according to the press release.

The responders confirmed that the human occupants had escaped with few injuries. No one else was injured, according to the release.

Crews extinguished the fire, preventing its spread to other vehicles. Both of the affected homes were considered a total loss. The motor home has an estimated value of $6,000; the fifth wheel has an estimated value of $1,500.

Other property was in close proximity to the destroyed trailer and motor home, Nelson said.

He suggested keeping any portable heating device away from combustibles. Newer devices feature safety mechanisms, like turning off when knocked over. If possible, people who use older heaters should consider upgrading, he said.

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

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