Fire burned Sterling home

Central Emergency Crews respond to a fire Friday in Sterling that displaced the home's owner.

A fire burned a two-story Sterling home and about half its contents Friday morning, according to a Central Emergency Services official. No one was injured in the fire.


An Alaska State Trooper discovered the house fire at about 10:15 a.m., Fire Marshal Gary Hale said. The trooper reported “unusually” black smoke, and when he called dispatch, the front porch was on fire, Hale said.

Ed Seims, the owner of  the 38765 McDowell home, off of North Robinson Loop, was at work during the fire, Hale said. 

David Bunts, an on-call lieutenant at CES’s station 3 in Sterling, received the call at 10:08 a.m. and was on scene at 10:16 a.m. The fire was under control by 10:23 a.m.

Two fire engines, three tankers, one rescue truck and a couple Alaska Division of Forestry engines responded. Hale said the structure fire was close to the forest, so the Division of Forestry was on standby.

Damages are estimated between $140,000 and $145,000, he said. The house is insured and is assessed at about $75,000, he said.

“The interior is pretty much destroyed,” Hale said. “The fire traveled upward and got into the walls.”

The fire began on the 4-by-4-foot porch, traveled up the outside of the home, into the walls and into the second floor. But because Seims had closed the metal door in his artic entryway, the fire spared the basement and main level of the house, Hale said.

Fire investigators are inspecting the home to determine the cause of the fire. Although investigators were unable to find faulty electrical wiring — a common cause in most Alaskan structure fires — they suspect an outlet on the wall of the porch caused the fire, Hale said.

“We’re pointing in that direction,” he said.

Seims is displaced because his bedroom was destroyed. All his cloths were also destroyed. The American Red Cross has been contacted to provide assistance, Hale said.