'With winds blowing the way they were, it was a recipe for disaster'

Posted: Thursday, November 05, 2009

Gusty winds sent a homeowner's small back yard grass fire out of control Wednesday afternoon, lighting a bed and breakfast ablaze.

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Photo By M. Scott Moon
Photo By M. Scott Moon
Pastor Phil Edgerly, right, comforts Karen Ferguson on Wednesday evening as they watch Central Emergency Services firefighters extinguish a blaze at Ferguson's home off Funny River Road.

No one was injured after Karen Ferguson's yard burn spun away from her and crawled up the side of her home and into her attic at 34484 Marcus St. off of Funny River Road Milepost 2.5.

"It was a bad day to burn grass," said Brad Nelson, assistant fire marshal for Central Emergency Services. "She didn't have water nearby just in case, and with winds blowing the way they were, it was a recipe for disaster."

CES responded to the call at about 3:30 p.m. and had personnel on site within about two minutes, Nelson said.

Upon arrival, crews found that only Ferguson and her two dogs were at the approximately 2,000 square foot, tongue and groove construction, riverfront property.

The residence is also the site of Alaskan Dream Bed and Breakfast.

Nelson said there was light smoke inside coming from the ceiling and pushing out from the roof.

A hole was cut in the ceiling in the kitchen area where Nelson said "heavy flames" were visible in the attic area.

"We knocked the fire down pretty quick and then got on the roof and got better access holes and knocked it down completely," he said.

Crews had to cut two holes through the structure's metal roof.

"The problem with attics is it can sit there and smolder and crawl in that cellulose insulation," he said.

The fire was declared under control within about a half an hour and declared out in an hour Nelson said.

He estimated the house suffered $60,000 to $75,000 worth of damage and was 95 percent spared.

"There was some water and smoke damage. We cut a hole in the ceiling and the roof but other than that it's a big save," Nelson said.

He attributed this largely to using foam instead of water.

Ferguson, who's husband, Bill, was not in town according to Nelson, was taken in by a local bed and breakfast for the night as the house needed to air out.

Dante Petri can be reached at dante.petri@peninsulaclarion.com.

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