Fire crews have little to do

Holidays mostly safe, quiet on peninsula

Posted: Tuesday, January 03, 2006

As wildfires continue to plague a section of the country including Oklahoma and northern Texas, firefighters in the central Kenai Peninsula area are breathing somewhat easier, reporting a relatively safe holiday season here.

Central Emergency Services placed only two red lights on its Keep the Wreath Green billboard, indicating firefighters responded to just two structure fires within the service area during the holiday season.

The Kenai Fire Department responded to one house fire in the same period, and Nikiski firefighters were idle.

“It was dead quiet,” said Nikiski Battalion Chief Doug Nightingale on Monday.

“That’s outstanding,” he said. “We had no fires, no medical calls and no (carbon monoxide) alerts.”

Since CES erected its fire prevention awareness billboard in December, firefighters have responded to two structure fires.

On Dec. 2, CES was called to fight a large shed fire at Mile 3.8 of Kalifornsky Beach Road in Kasilof, and less than two weeks later, on Dec. 13, the department responded to a fire that destroyed a house just one-tenth of a mile from the shed fire.

Fire Marshal Gary Hale said the cause of the second fire was suspicious. No injuries were reported in either fire.

CES had no other structure fires over the holidays, according to Capt. Brenda Johnson.

The Kenai Fire Department responded to a house fire Dec. 11 on Bowpicker Lane in VIP Subdivision. The house was unoccupied and no injuries were reported.

The fire was not reported until a passing motorist called 911 about 6:30 a.m., and by the time fire trucks arrived, the $150,000, single-family house was fully involved in fire, according to Assistant Fire Chief James Baisden.

“That’s the only legitimate structure fire call we had,” said Capt. James Dye on Monday.

“It seems to be a safe holiday season,” Dye said.

He said the subzero temperatures that usually come in the first part of the year tend to hold carbon monoxide low to the ground, bringing a potential for CO problems.

“If people have a CO alarm going off or suspect they have a CO problem, we have a monitor and can bring it out and test (for presence of the deadly gas),” Dye said.

Nikiski’s Nightingale also said that department will go to people’s homes to monitor air quality if people have a CO problem.

“It’s best if they evacuate the house and keep the house closed up when they call us,” he said.

“If they air it out before we get there, we can’t tell if a problem exists.”

“We’ll come out and monitor furnaces and fuel-burning appliances to see if there is a problem,” Nightingale said.

About the absence of fire calls during the holidays, Nightingale said, “It looks like people listened and were being safe.”

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