A mid-afternoon fire caused extensive damage to a log home at the corner of Ciechanski Road and Woods Drive on Monday. No one was in the home at the time of the fire.
Firefighters from Central Emergency Services battled the 3 p.m. fire in minus 8-degree weather for four and one-half hours until it was declared out at 7:30 p.m.
The fire heavily damaged the main cabin of the house and caused major fire, heat and smoke damage to the remainder of the building.
Fire investigators determined Tuesday that the fire originated in a first-floor bedroom, probably when a small lamp with a heat-lamp bulb ignited combustible materials that were nearby, according to Fire Marshal Gary Hale.
Firefighters took turns entering the building to fight the fire, using fresh-air breathing equipment in the smoke-filled structure.
At one point, all were evacuated from the building minutes before a section of the building collapsed. No firefighters were injured.
The owner of the house was listed as Mildred Hirth, former owner of Millie's Tavern in Sterling, who died in September.
The lone occupant was her son, Arthur Hirth, who was away at the time of the fire. He reportedly is staying with family and the American Red Cross has been contacted to assist with clothing needs.
CES responded to the fire with one fire engine, three tankers, a medic unit, one ladder truck and three command vehicles. A portable 2,500-gallon capacity Fold-a-tank was used as a source of water at the scene. The Kenai Fire Department provided additional air bottles for the fresh air packs.
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