Fire guts bluff apartment, no one hurt

Posted: Monday, September 24, 2001

Fire broke out in a Kenai four-plex late Sunday morning, gutting one apartment and damaging the others, according to Kenai Fire Department Assistant Chief Mike Tilly.

"It took out most of one apartment. It's a total loss," he said. "It was fully involved when we got there. Fire was coming out of the front through the double glass doors and out of the two back bedrooms. They (firefighters) did a great job in confining the fire to the apartment of origin."

The fire, on Peninsula Avenue overlooking the Kenai River, was reported at 11:39 a.m. The cause is under investigation.

"We don't have any answers yet, but it appears to have started in a back bedroom," Tilly said. "That narrows it down, but we haven't nailed the cause down yet."

The fire started in the apartment upstairs on the right, though smoke and heat damaged the other upstairs apartment.

"There were doors open to the other apartment that allowed the heat and smoke to travel," Tilly said. "If I could give one bit of advice, it's close the doors behind you when you leave. It really helps."

Tilly said there were four or five people who lived in the apartment where the fire began, and nine in the building. All are being displaced because of the damage.

"Because of water damage and wiring problems stemming from the building burning, we've had to close the building down," Tilly said. "We have the Red Cross on the way to place the families, and The Salvation Army is helping out."

He said the families will be allowed in to gather their necessities.

Tilly said the structure still looks sound, in his opinion, but said engineers and insurance investigators will have to make that determination. He said with renovation, the building could probably be livable again.

Tilly said the fire spread into the attic space, and firefighters had to tear open the roof to put it out.

Ten KFD firefighters and three from the Nikiski Fire Department responded to the blaze.

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