What appeared to be fog in Mariah Ross's backyard off of Gas Well Road in Soldotna at approximately 10 a.m. Monday turned out to be smoke from her neighbor's trailer. The fire didn't take over the entire trailer, Ross said, but after flames started in the bathroom and spread to the bedroom, laundry room and hallway, she and firefighters consider the structure a total loss.
Jack Anderson, acting duty captain for Central Emergency Services, said firefighters were dispatched at approximately 10:30 a.m. on Monday to Gas Well Road where they were able to get the fire undercontrol at 10:55. He said when the first engine arrived on scene, white smoke was pouring out of the trailer. The trailer's insulation fueled the fire as brown and black smoke and then flames began to show. The fire was so warm, it caused ammunition inside the trailer to explode.
"It sounded like firecrackers," Ross said. "It was loud."
Anderson said the trailer's owner arrived on scene approximately 10 minutes after firefighters arrived and was able to confirm that there were no other occupants inside the trailer. CES was able to put the owner in touch with the American Red Cross, which was able to find housing and clothing for him.
Gary Hale, CES fire marshal, said the cause of the fire is still under investigation, and while the owner wasn't in the trailer at the time, he did lose two pet birds that were in cages hanging from the ceiling.
Another red lightbulb will be added to the wreath as a result of Monday's trailer fire, which marks the sixth structure fire CES has responded to since the Keep the Wreath Green program started on Dec. 1. Hale said this holiday season beats out any other holiday season since 2004 when the fire department began the program. Up until now, there were three lightbulbs at most added to the wreath.
"We haven't had the Christmas tree yet and we haven't had candles or space heaters," Hale said. "(All fires) were different this year."
Over the past 30 days CES firefighters have responded to a kitchen fire, an oven fire, a dryer fire, a garage fire and Monday's trailer fire. There also was a chimney fire and while firefighters didn't respond to it, Hale said it also has a red lightbulb on the wreath.
Ross,who was able to take photos of the fire, said once firefighters knocked the door down, her neighborhood filled with smoke. But she said other homes and structures in the area wasn't in any danger.
"I feel really bad for him," she said. "He's a nice guy and he's got a heart problem. It's just sad that it happened, especially right in the middle of the holidays."
Jessica Cejnar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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