Structure fire changes look of 'Keep it Green' wreath

Posted: Thursday, December 23, 2004

Just one week after Central Emergency Services erected its green wreath fire safety reminder, one of the sign's green light bulbs was replaced by a red one, indicating that a structure fire occurred.

A trailer home on Farr Street off West Poppy Lane caught fire Dec. 15, causing nearly $4,000 in damage. No one was injured, according to CES Assistant Fire Marshal Gordon Orth.

On Dec. 8, CES put up a large, wooden wreath at the corner of Binkley Street and the Sterling Highway in Soldotna to remind people to be fire safety conscious, especially during the holidays.

The wreath, built by students from Skyview High School, has 50 green Christmas lights that will be replaced by a red one each time a structure fire occurs within the fire service area. A white bulb will replace a green one to represent a firefighter who dies in the line of duty anywhere in the United States during the holiday period.

One such white bulb has been lit on the green wreath for a fallen firefighter in the Lower 48, according to Orth.

CES firefighters were called to the structure fire on Farr Street at 10:30 p.m., after an unattended candle had been left burning too close to combustible curtains, Orth said.

By the time a CES fire engine arrived on the scene, within five minutes of the call, the homeowner already had knocked down the flames with water from a pan, but not before the fire burned through an exterior wall, destroyed the curtains and a television set inside the home.

When the fire was first detected, the homeowner evacuated his son and wife, who called 911 from outside the home.

The value of the home is about $65,000 with $25,000 in personal property contents. According to Orth, the home incurred $2,500 in damage and the contents loss was about $1,200.

Orth said CES responded with one fire engine, two water tankers, two command vehicles and a medic unit. Thirteen firefighters were at the scene.

The fire was out 16 minutes after the first firefighters arrived.

The CES wreath, part of a national Keep the Wreath Green fire prevention awareness campaign, will remain up until Jan. 1 and will be put up every year on the day before Thanksgiving.

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