House fires claim 2 area dwellings

Posted: Wednesday, March 08, 2000

No fatalities were reported in two separate fires recently, but the blazes claimed the homes of two area families.

The first, a trailer fire, was reported to the Nikiski Fire Department at 12:28 a.m. on Feb. 28.

The trailer, located on Christy Avenue in the Aurora Heights Subdivision in Nikiski, was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived, said Fire Chief Billy Harris.

The roof of the trailer previously had been sprayed with urethane, so the fire was harder to extinguish, Harris said.

Fourteen firefighters assisted in the fire, but the trailer was a total loss. Damage was estimated by Harris at approximately $40,000.

Lilly Odell and her 37-year-old son, Eddie Cook, resided in the home. Odell was with Maria Nunez, a friend, while her son was in Anchorage when the fire occurred. They had resided in the home for two years. Odell, originally from Honduras, speaks little English.

"It was a shock to them," Nunez said, "It was pretty devastating."

Odell and her son are staying with Nunez while they look for a new residence.

The cause of the fire is undetermined.

The second house fire was reported in Kasilof on Friday afternoon.

Kathy Peterson-Swan's home was totally destroyed. Since it was located outside of any fire service district, no firefighters responded. Fire departments do not respond to residential fires unless they are a threat to the surrounding forest.

"It was still burning when I came home," Peterson-Swan said.

She was at work when the fire started, and Alaska State Troopers called and alerted her.

Peterson-Swan lived in the home with her 17-year-old son Darrel Swan.

Alaska State Trooper Sgt. Dan Donaldson responded to the scene to make sure all people and animals were safe from danger.

Neighbors helped rescue most of the animals trapped in the home.

While no people were harmed, three cats were killed in the blaze.

Deputy Fire Marshal Ford Brooks is investigating the fire and said the cause has yet to be determined.

Peterson-Swan is living in a camper in Kasilof while looking for another home. Her son is staying in Anchorage with his father.

"Were dealing with it," she said.

Peterson-Swan estimated the damage at approximately $31,000.

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