Juneau firefighters battle two fires in subzero weather

Harborview blaze quickly extinguished with minimal damage

Posted: Thursday, January 08, 2009

Two fires in two days in below zero winter weather have Capital City Fire and Rescue officials cautioning homeowners, and asking for some help as well.

Brian Wallace / Juneau Empire
Brian Wallace / Juneau Empire

Wednesday morning flames were spotted at Harborview School in an area under construction, but the fire was extinguished with only minor damage.

A more serious fire occurred Tuesday evening at 10231 Heron Way, though the occupants of the house were safely evacuated before fire personnel arrived, according to Daniel Jager, fire marshal with Capital City Fire and Rescue.

The two-story, wood-frame four-plex is owned by Terri Lamb and Jonathan Frawley, according to the borough assessor. The property was insured.

Flames were visible from the back of the house when firefighters arrived.

Jager said the fire was caused by a small electrical heater used to keep water pipes from freezing. A hole cut in a wall allowed the fire to spread through an outside wooden wall.

Damage was estimated at $20,000, Jager said.

Temperatures at the Heron Way fire were 10 degrees below zero, he said.

American Red Cross helped the building's occupants, as well as provided warm coffee for firefighters.

The Harborview Elementary fire was quickly extinguished with minimal damage Wednesday morning, despite the school fire protection system having been disabled due to an ongoing renovation project.

Flames were visible in two rooms when firefighters arrived, but the only damage was to plastic hanging on the walls and some light, combustible material. Damage was estimated at $500, according to the department.

Jager is conducting an investigation into the cause of the fire, but it is initially thought to have been related to construction from the previous evening. Jager was unavailable for comment Wednesday.

CCFR responded to the fire at 6:33 a.m., and by 8 a.m. work crews were allowed back into the building.

After the two fires, Capital City Fire and Rescue is asking that business and homeowners "adopt a fire hydrant" near their property. Due to the large amount of snowfall recently, numerous fire hydrants have become buried by snow, making it difficult for fire personnel to locate them if needed.



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