Fire held to kitchen

Posted: Tuesday, November 13, 2007

In just a few more minutes, had firefighters not arrived when they did, a house fire across the street from the Catholic church in Soldotna would have been much worse Saturday night.

"We got so many calls and we had a lot of manning around the station," said Central Emergency Services Fire Marshal Gary Hale, who added the fire was under control in five minutes and out within 15 minutes of the first arriving engine.

No injuries were reported.

Due to the fast response, major fire damage to the two-story single family house on Fireweed Street was confined to the kitchen area. Other parts of the upper level sustained major smoke and heat damage, Hale said.

The 2,650-square-foot house owned by Lori van Rooyen was in final stages of being renovated with about one week of touch up work remaining to be done, according to the fire department.

Hale said the family had started the dishwasher prior to leaving the house about 45 minutes before the fire report came in. Fire investigators determined the fire originated in the bottom area of the dishwasher.

The fire broke through the bottom of the dishwasher, burned up the front of the washer, burned the countertop and kitchen cabinets and spread to the ceiling above, Hale said. Melted plastic was found in the bottom of the dishwasher.

The first arriving fire engine crew reported smoke and flames coming from the interior of the building.

CES responded with one engine, a ladder truck, one medic unit and three command vehicles. Twenty-one firefighters worked to get the fire out.

"In just a couple more minutes, we would have had a huge structure fire," Hale said.

The lower level of the house, which has a family room, utility room and several bedrooms, had little heat damage and minor smoke damage, Hale said.

Estimated property damage was listed at $8,000.

A family cat, which was in the house at the time of the fire, was found unharmed in the lower level of the building.

Phil Hermanek can be reached at

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