Posted: Monday, April 23, 2001

Cause of house fire pinpointed

JUNEAU - The blaze that destroyed a residence on Evergreen Avenue early Saturday was probably caused by electrical wiring in the attic. The fire spread quickly because little fire-resistant wallboard was used in multiple remodelings of the structure, police said.

Community Service Officer Mike Tagaban, a policeman trained in the analysis of fires, and eight other officers combed the ashes of the home of Jean and George Rogers for most of Saturday afternoon and Sunday. Tagaban concluded that the fire began in a room that the Rogers used as their office, got a head start in the tongue-and-groove wood paneling used throughout the house, and then headed for the children's wing where a tenant was staying.

The Rogers' daughter, Sidney Fadaoff, was able to rescue some personal possessions.

"The one that matters the most to me was that I found the black and white photo album of all the versions of the house; that was way cool. And I found Mom's pride and joy, her pottery plates she picked up over the years; if it matched, she didn't like it."

Fadaoff recommends storing belongings in metal steamer trunks, because two such trunks preserved her mother's old letters and diaries perfectly. She also recovered a drawer of photographs floating in water, and turned them over to a restorer.

Donations may be made to the Rogers Fire Fund, which Fadaoff is setting up today at the downtown branch of Alaska Pacific Bank. Fadaoff also is planning work parties to remove debris from the site.

"Every night my answering machine is full of people asking what they can do," she said.

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