A fire burned unnoticed for several hours in a multi-level Kenai home Wednesday morning after the residents left for the day. The home was destroyed, but there were no injuries in the blaze.
The fire engulfed the living section of the home but did not spread to the attached garage, said Kenai Fire Department Chief Scott Walden.
"When we arrived the fire was completely involved in the living area," he said. "It had burned through some of the upper walls and roof and it was coming out the windows."
The estimated 2,400- to 2,600-square-foot wood frame home is at the end of Roy Way off East Aliak Drive near Mountain View Elementary School. The fire was reported at 10:40 a.m., after neighbors noticed black smoke emanating from the house.
"There was pretty heavy smoke," Walden said. "When we left the station before the stop light at Kmart we could see a large column of black smoke coming from that area."
The family had left several hours before anyone noticed the fire, Walden said. The house is at the end of Roy Way cul-de-sac and is not particularly noticeable from the road, so the fire could have been burning long before the smoke was noticed.
The cause of the fire appears accidental, Walden said. Kenai Fire Marshal James Baisden was investigating possible sources of heat after the fire was put out to pinpoint the cause of the conflagration.
"Most likely candles started the fire," Baisden said. "We're still investigating."
Kenai firefighters responded to the fire at 10:47 a.m., seven minutes after receiving the call. Firefighters used hand lines and a deck gun from a fire engine to put out the blaze.
"Our initial attack involved going inside," Walden said. "The roof and upper floors were caving in while we were inside, so we did pull outside and fought the fire defensively. There was truly no access to the upper levels, because everything had burned down."
The fire was under control and reported contained at 11:49 a.m. Twelve Kenai firefighters, two fire engines, one ladder truck, a rescue squad car and a chief's car responded to the fire. Two crews from Nikiski were called on an automatic aid call. One crew provided support at the fire scene while the other staffed the Kenai fire station in case another call came in.
"I'm extremely happy with the performance of our crew and Nikiski," Walden said. "Even though they ended up fighting a defensive fire they did perform very well."
According to Baisden, firefighters were able to prevent the fire from spreading to the attached garage on the house, but the entire structure is a loss. Estimated damages to the home are $150,000, Baisden said.
No other homes in the area were affected by the fire. A police officer checked with Mountain View Elementary to see if students or staff were affected by the smoke, but they were not.
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