Nikiski firefighters put out blaze

Posted: Monday, August 19, 2002

The Nikiski Fire Department responded to a house fire on Ron's Avenue late Friday night. Fire-fighters were able to stop the fire from spreading and extinguish the blaze throughout the night. No one was injured.

The fire department received a report of flames and smoke billowing from a house on the west end of Ron's Avenue at about 11:40 p.m., said battalion commander Doug Nightingale.

Nikiski Fire Department sent one engine, three tankers and about 16 fire department personnel to the fire. A rescue unit provided external light through the night, and the Kenai Fire Department assisted with one engine and two personnel.

Nightingale said the structure was significantly engulfed in flame by the time firefighters arrived. The heat had blown out upper story windows and the blaze was visible from Cook Inlet and Kenai.

Firefighters had the fire under control within 10 minutes, Nightingale said, though it took longer to completely extinguish the flames. Crews had to overhaul the building, tearing out sheet rock, before leaving at 3 a.m. One crew stayed overnight to watch for any hot spots.

"Everything went very, very well. We've done a lot of training in the last month and a half and it went really smoothly," Nightingale said.

The house was deemed a total loss, though the lower level contents were damaged by heat and smoke, not fire, and the garage was completely intact.

"We were able to stop the fire at the point it was at when we arrived, which is about as much as you can ask for. So we were pleased," Nightingale said. "And since there was a brand new Ford in the garage, I'm sure the owners were pleased as well."

The couple who owned the house was not home at the time of the fire. They left about 10:30 p.m. and returned while firefighters were working. The American Red Cross arranged lodging for the couple at the Kenai Merit Inn.

Nightingale said a preliminary investigation determined that the fire started in or under a natural gas fireplace in the home. A specific cause has not been determined, though, as the couple was not using the fireplace.

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