Fire strikes twice in Nikiski house

Posted: Friday, October 31, 2008

A Nikiski home suffered an estimated $10,000 worth of damage after two separate fires ignited at the same residence. The first broke out Wednesday afternoon and the second on Thursday morning.

The Nikiski Fire Department responded to the first call of a report of a chimney fire at about 4:09 p.m. at 53425 Bell Ave., said NFD Capt. Jim Allemann. The structure is made of up three mobile homes, all sharing the same secondary roof, Allemann said.

Improper chimney installation caused the fire, said Greg Hyatt, NFD battalion chief. The insulation, which was made out of cellulose, was resting against the chimney flute. Hyatt said air space is needed between the chimney and insulation so heat coming off of the chimney can dissipate.

Hyatt said cellulose typically smolders, making smoke the visible indicator of fire instead of flames. Cellulose is usually made from recycled newspapers and coated with a flame-retardant substance, making extinguishing fires difficult.

Firefighters stayed on scene about three hours to ensure all flames were put out and that no more insulation was burning, Hyatt said. Firefighters also revisited the house twice Wednesday night and once Thursday morning to make sure no rekindling occurred.

The second fire happened just after 8 a.m. on Thursday, Hyatt said. An electrical shortage caused the fire and the interior of the house sustained minor damages. The exterior of the structure and its chimney suffered a majority of the damage.

The unidentified owner of the house currently lives in Oregon, Allemann said. A single family, that is related to the owner, lives in the residence. The exact number of occupants is unknown. The family has not been identified. No injuries were reported.

Allemann said he encourages everyone to clean their chimneys before the winter months.

"Periodically cleaning (your chimney) will greatly minimize the potential of these kinds of things," he said.

Mike Nesper can be reached at

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