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CCFR investigating 2 Friday fires as arson

Posted: May 19, 2012 - 1:32pm  |  Updated: May 20, 2012 - 12:13am

The fire department is investigating two separate fires at Harris Harbor and Orca Point Apartments that officials say were intentionally set ablaze Friday.

Capital City Fire and Rescue responded to a Porta-Potty on fire at Harris Harbor near the Juneau-Douglas Bridge, according to CCFR Fire Marshal Dan Jager.

Jager said a passing taxi cab driver saw the smoke and called 911 at about 6:05 a.m. Damage is estimated to be $2,500, Jager estimated.

Portable toilets have been a frequent target of arsonists in the past, Jager said.

“We’ve had quite a few over the last four or five years,” Jager said, perhaps due to their locations, which are usually out of the way.

An investigation didn’t turn up much of anything, Jager said, but arson is suspected.

“They don’t just spontaneously combust,” Jager said.

The city’s Parks and Recreation department rented this particular Porta-Potty from Tyler Rental in Juneau, and the city will probably have to foot the bill, Jager said.

A second fire was reported about six hours later around noon at the Orca Point Apartments on Crow Hill Drive in Douglas, Jager said.

Multiple tenants called 911 to report a tool shed in the apartment complex parking lot was on fire. A tenant with a portable fire extinguisher partially knocked down the flames by the time responding firefighters arrived on scene, Jager said.

That early detection and intervention probably prevented the fire from spreading, Jager noted, especially since the shed contained about seven or eight fuel cans, some of which were filled with gas.

“Had it gone unchecked, it probably would have been a lot bigger fire,” he said.

The shed was located about 15 to 20 feet from Apartment Building A, Jager said.

Jager added the fire was set to the outside of the shed, not inside, and the flames didn’t have time to touch the fuel cans because the tenant immediately intervened.

No injuries were reported.

Jager said the fire caused about $2,000 in damage to the shed, which was insured. The shed is property of the Orca Point Apartments, Jager said.

The fire marshal said he doesn’t believe the two fires are related at this point in time.

“We don’t have anything indicting that they are,” except the six-hour time frame, Jager said.

There were no video surveillance cameras at either location, and Jager says there are no leads in the case at this time. He urged people with information to call the fire marshal’s office at 586-5322.

“We’re hoping somebody out in the community knows something,” Jager said. “Any information at all, no matter how small it might seem. We take anything that comes in and we follow up on it. It might make a difference.”

• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at

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