Chimney fire causes serious damage to home in Indian
Ken Smith/Turnagain Times
Firefighters work to put out a chimney fire at a house in Indian Oct. 12.
By Ken Smith
Firefighters from Anchorage and Girdwood responded to a chimney fire at a resident’s home in Indian on Wednesday, Oct. 12 at around 10:40 a.m.
Sharon Yore, the owner of the house on Boretide Road, looked on as firefighters doused her chimney and roof with water from several hoses.
Smoke was extensive throughout the house, bellowing out windows and doorways and air ducts, but the fire remained isolated to the chimney and roof area.
It took about an hour for firefighters to finally put out the stubborn fire inside the chimney and between the chimney flue and roof truss, causing extensive smoke damage throughout the house, said Al Tamagni, the Anchorage Fire Department public information officer, who was at the scene of the fire.
The exact cause of the fire is undetermined, other than the fact that it started in the chimney.
“The fire could have been burning too hot in the stove, perhaps there was some deterioration in the chimney, pieces can get between the chimney flue, maybe the stove pipe shifted; it could be any number of things,” said Tamagni.
Yore has lived in the house for over 30 years. She said a chimney fire occurred two years ago that firefighters put out, but she said she has it cleaned it annually. She also said she burns a lot of wood, despite the fact the wood stove is a secondary heating source in the house – the primary source is circulating hot water through baseboards.
Yore said a neighbor drove by and saw flames coming out of the chimney and alerted her. She ran next door to get her neighbor George Reandeau and the two attempted to put the fire out.
They put a fire-extinguishing device in the wood stove that works like a road flare and depletes oxygen and suffocates the fire.
“I put the device in and it seemed to put it out,” said Yore. “We waited for about 45 minutes, and it didn’t appear there was a fire, and I thought, great, it worked.”
Yore then left to deliver mail – she works for the U.S. Postal service delivering mail to Indian and Bird. Reandeau stayed in the house.
“She went to work, and I stayed and watched for a while to make sure it wasn’t starting up again,” said Reandau.
About two hours into her delivery route, Yore said she saw smoke coming from her neighborhood and suspected it was her house.
Bill Kam, who lives three houses down from Yore, said he looked out the window of his house and saw the smoke and thought a neighbor was burning garbage. But when he went outside, he saw smoke was coming from Yore’s house. He ran over to the house and went up the stairs to the side porch and opened the door and was hit with a mass of smoke.
“I ran over and got Gordon (next door neighbor of Yore’s) and he called the fire department,” Kam said. “I knew she (Yore) wasn’t home, and I knew her child was at school, and she has no pets.”
Yore’s 13-year-old child had left for school earlier in the morning.
Girdwood Fire Chief Bill Chadwick was the first to arrive around 10:38 a.m., followed by firefighters from Anchorage Fire Station 9 on Huffman Road. Two tender trucks arrived from Girdwood, and one from Anchorage along with three engine trucks from Anchorage, and a latter truck.
Firefighters had enough water in the tender trucks to put out the fire, but as a back-up supply of water, they hooked a hose up to a 5,000-gallon water tank that is buried in the ground just in front of Boretide Road.
Firefighters ran hoses from the tender trucks parked at the beginning of the dirt road up to the house, which was about 50 yards up the road. Fire and smoke damage to the house was estimated at $100,000.