Kenai bluff house burns to the ground

Posted: Monday, January 05, 2004

A fire engulfed a mansion in Kenai, completely destroying the structure and all of its contents late Saturday night.

The large, three-story, chalet-style home at 1803 Sunset Blvd. was reported to belong to Jesse Wade, owner of Wade Oil Field Service Company.

"Right now the cause is still under investigation," said Kenai Fire Marshal James Baisden.

Baisden said the fire started around 10:30 p.m. Saturday. He estimated the house to be about 6,000 square feet in size.

There were no reported injuries as the owners of the home are in Texas, only living in Alaska seasonally during the warmer six months of the year.

The damage to the home was extensive. A large racquetball court in the basement, looked more like a swimming pool as a result of all the water that accumulated in putting out the inferno.

A virtually unrecognizable 2004 Chevy Monte Carlo lay charred in what remained of the garage. Beyond that, little else was identifiable in the rubble and ruins.

"It's a large scene that's still cooling down," Baisden said early Sunday morning while he and his crew continued to monitor the smoldering ashes.

Baisden said both Kenai and Nikiski firefighters, including more than 20 emergency personnel and six pieces of safety equipment, responded to the blaze.

Fighting the fire was no easy task, though.

"It's outside of the water hydrant district, so we had to shuttle water by tanker," Baisden said.

Tom Schanrock, who said he has been a friend of Wade's since 1975, checked up on the house from time to time while the owner was away.

He said he was mortified to see the remains of the burned-out structure.

"I don't know what the hell happened," he said Sunday morning.

Schanrock said he was trying to contact Wade to report the incident.

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