Thanks for your help when our storage cabin caught fire

Posted: Friday, June 20, 2008

On June 1, at our home at the end of Point Stephens trail (no road here), I woke to loud crackling and popping. Looking out the front door, I saw smoke and flames roaring from the cabin next door which we used as my office and library, extra living space and storage.

My wife called 911 as I raced to grab two fire extinguishers, which I quickly emptied on the building but with no effect. I threw buckets of water from the rain barrels (there's no city water out here), and the fire raged on.

Fortunately, it wasn't long before help arrived, with neighbors and helpful boaters ferrying Capital City Fire and Rescue and other neighbors across Tee Harbor to the point. Neighbors and firemen attacked the burning building and spreading groundfire with buckets of water and almost got a hose going from our cistern but then the power went down as the line burnt through, and the shutoff meant we couldn't pump water.

About then, a Juneau fire and rescue boat arrived and pumped seawater from the harbor side of the point. Then another boat with new, powerful forest-firefighting capability arrived and pumped seawater high up into the trees from the north side of the point.

These efforts brought the blaze under control as the canopy was catching strongly and the fire came near the corner of our house. Our house escaped unscathed, and the shop building on the other side of the cabin only had two broken windows and a scorched corner. The U.S. Forest Service felled charred and still-burning trees to secure the site and the forest.

We were so lucky! Without the quick response of Fire and Rescue and Tee Harbor neighbors and boaters, our house and shop would have been destroyed. The cabin/office was a total loss, burnt to cinders. The only injury was to myself, from getting too close to the blaze and suffering second-degree burns. Kitty, our cats Binky and Ollie, and all the wildlife and their forest home are fine.

The source of the fire remains under investigation.

We wish to sincerely thank and express our eternal gratitude to Capital City Fire and Rescue, the Forest Service, and the folks fishing in Tee Harbor that day who transported responders to the site. We also specially thank the EMT team for recognizing I needed help and rushing me to the hospital. Thank you all!

All of us in the city are extremely privileged to have a Fire and Rescue department with this level of professionalism and readiness.

Also, after reading Capital City Fire and Rescue Fire Chief Eric Mohrmann's thank-you letter on Wednesday, we second his thanks to the persons named and would like to add the names of two of the earliest responders: Mark Hafner and Mike Donahue. Thank you.

Tony and Kitty Mecklenburg

Auke Bay

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