Fire destroys structures, vehicles, but doesn’t harm residents

Fire Marshal not ruling out arson as the cause

Charred trees rise above a burnt motor home and shed at a Mendenhall Valley home on July 10, 2018. An early-morning fire damaged the shed, the motor home, a fish smokehouse and a Chevy truck. (Alex McCarthy | Juneau Empire)

A Mendenhall Valley fire destroyed multiple structures and cars early Tuesday morning, and Capital City Fire/Rescue officials aren’t ruling out the possibility that the fire was set intentionally.

 

CCFR Fire Marshal Dan Jager said in a statement Tuesday that the cause of the fire is still unknown, and that he hasn’t been able to rule out an intentional cause. There were no injuries reported, Jager said, but the fire destroyed a fish smokehouse, a shed, a truck and a motor home, and that the estimated loss is about $25,000.

In an interview, Jager said investigators have been unable to find any heat source in their investigation. They haven’t found any electrical issues or anything that could have caused a spark.

“There’s no reason for the fire to have started at this point,” Jager said, “and that means we can’t rule out intentional (cause).”

A couple of joggers were getting in their morning run at about 5 a.m. Tuesday when they spotted the fire spreading at a home in the 9500 block of Mendenhall Loop Road, Capital City Fire/Rescue Assistant Chief Ed Quinto said.

The joggers called 911, and when responders arrived on the scene, Quinto said, they found a 10-by-10 shed, a 2005 Chevy truck, a 1991 Ford class B RV and surrounding trees all on fire.

“Everything was on fire,” Quinto said, “so it was basically a big fireball right in front of their house.”

The property owners, Quinto said, were in their house and were not harmed. Nobody else was harmed, Quinto said, and there didn’t appear to be any pets involved either, Jager said. He said the property was insured.

The home was not damaged in the blaze, Jager said. As CCFR continues to investigate the fire, Jager asked that people with any information about the fire or people who were in the immediate area at the time call the Fire Marshal’s Office at 586-0260 if they have any photos or information about the fire.

Multiple people called the fire in, Jager said, and he hopes a couple of them were able to document the fire in some way.

“We know people were around,” Jager said. “Whether they got any photos or videos or anything, hard to say. We’re just trying to piece everything together at this time.”


• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or amccarthy@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.


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