Cohoe house fire blamed on candle

Mother, daughter, dogs escaped unharmed

Posted: Friday, April 13, 2007


  A home off of North Cohoe Loop in Kasilof is engulfed in flames Wednesday morning. Photo by David DeForest, Central

A home off of North Cohoe Loop in Kasilof is engulfed in flames Wednesday morning.

Photo by David DeForest, Central

An unattended candle has been determined to be the most probable cause of a North Cohoe Loop fire Wednesday morning that completely burned a family’s home and its contents.

No injuries were reported.

Central Emergency Services firefighters responded to a 911 call at 10:25 a.m. and when they arrived at the Acys Avenue home, found the 800 square-foot, single-story home completely engulfed in flames.

According to CES Fire Marshal Gary Hale, Jameena Burnett, the owner of the house, and her 17-year-old daughter were in the house at the time the fire was first detected. Hale said the two discovered smoke and at first thought it was coming from the home’s wood burning stove. After investigating, they found the smoke was actually coming from the front master bedroom.

They found flames climbing the upper walls in one corner of the bedroom and Burnett tried to put the fire out with a fire extinguisher while her daughter called 911.

Thinking they had the fire out, they went to get more water to extinguish remaining embers, but when they returned, smoke forced them to evacuate the building, along with the family’s two dogs.

The first CES command vehicle arrived within 16 minutes, and the first fire engine took 23 minutes to travel the 21 miles to the fire. Three tankers, a medic unit, a rescue truck, a ladder truck and four command vehicles responded. The fire was brought under control within 71 minutes and declared out 59 minutes later.

The home and its contents, valued at approximately $25,000, were destroyed. The home was not insured, Hale said.

He said firefighters sifting through the rubble were able to find some jewelry and photos, which were recovered for the family.

The American Red Cross was contacted to provide for the needs of Burnett, her husband, Dino Leite, who was at work at the time of the fire, and the daughter. Hale said the mother and daughter escaped with only the clothes they were wearing. They did find temporary living space with acquaintances, he said.

Phil Hermanek can be reached at

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