Space heater suspected as cause in construction trailer fire

As the snow began to fall Thursday night, a small fire was burning in the Mendenhall Valley.


At 10:05 p.m. Thursday, Capital City Fire/Rescue responded to the report of smoke and flames at a boat condo construction site at 12364 Mendenhall Loop Road, per an announcement from CCFR. The site’s caretaker had reported the fire, and had closed the door and immediately called 911.

When fire personnel arrived, they found a 40-foot Conex trailer with smoke showing, and an attached wood-framed structure belonging to the caretaker. Responders were able to extinguish the fire fairly quickly, according to the CCFR statement, and cleared the scene by 12:30 a.m.

There were no injuries reported, and the damage is estimated at between $10,000 and $15,000. Fire Marshal Dan Jager said that the damage was both to the trailer and the equipment inside, which included office supplies and tools. The fire marshal’s office determined that the most likely cause of the fire was an electric space heater that came into contact with combustible materials nearby. Jager said the combustible materials were most likely papers in the office area of the trailer.

Jager said people don’t often think of heating appliances as fire risks, but if they’re set up in a place near drapes or where pets can knock them over, for example, they can very quickly become hazardous.

“The big thing is is that people feel like, ‘Oh, it’s just a space heater,’” Jager said. “They turn it on, plug it in, use it and forget about it. They’re not designed for long-term use.”

• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or


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