The Juneau Police Department says two Mexican brothers, 34-year-old “Wilfrido” Luis Román Olivarría Mora and 21-year-old Adrian de Jesus Olivarria Mora were the two men who died in a fire at a historic downtown building Sunday morning. Their next of kin have been notified, JPD reported Monday.
Through its ongoing investigation, Capital City Fire/Rescue has deduced that the fire began on the second-story exterior deck, and that the fire appears to be accidental. The building, CCFR Fire Marshal Dan Jager said Monday, is a total loss.
Of the other five occupants of the building, three were taken to the hospital and two escaped unharmed. Jager said there was at least one functional smoke alarm in the building that alerted occupants to the fire. CCFR Chief Rich Etheridge said that as of 4 p.m. Monday, CCFR was still waiting on updates about the condition of the patients.
Four firefighters were taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation, and Etheridge said all four were released and back on duty Sunday. CCFR will not be releasing the names of the firefighters, Etheridge said, because it is protected health information.
“They’re all eager to get back to work and get back to normal life,” Jager said. “Fortunately the injuries were minor, which we’re thankful for.”
The blaze was reported at 4:14 a.m. Sunday, when a man called dispatchers and said his home was on fire. The building, used as a bed and breakfast-style lodging called The Dining Inn, is listed in Juneau’s registry of historic buildings as being built in 1910.
Jager said it looks like there have been various add-ons over the years to the building, and the layout of the building made it difficult to fight. Firefighters battled the flames for more than four hours, finally extinguishing the fire at 8:32 a.m.
“The configuration of it was really a challenge, in the fact that there were lots of void spaces in the walls, in between ceiling spaces and floors,” Jager said, “so the fire was traveling through smoldering insulation, through wood construction, void spaces. We’d think that we had (the fire) knocked down and extinguished, however, we’d get smoke coming up again and we’d have to track down the smoke, where it was coming from, to find where else it was burning.”
This is the first fatal fire in Juneau since August 2014, Jager said, when 56-year-old Juneau grandmother Doris Emanoff died in a mobile home blaze on Lemon Creek Road.
There was no damage to the Terry Miller Legislative Building, which is just next door to The Dining Inn. Jager said the air intake system was open at the legislative building, so some smoke got in and set off smoke alarms.
The investigation into the fire continues, with CCFR employees conducting interviews. Jager said they’re still looking for details, and if anyone happened to get cellphone photos or videos of the fire he would like copies. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We’re still trying to piece together a timeline of how the fire progressed,” Jager said, “and if anybody has anything, we’d most definitely like to get that.”
• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or email@example.com.