Firefighters extinguish a fire at a commercial building on Glacier Avenue, Monday, April 22, 2019. The cause of the fire has been deemed suspicious. (Ben Hohenstatt | Juneau Empire)

Firefighters extinguish a fire at a commercial building on Glacier Avenue, Monday, April 22, 2019. The cause of the fire has been deemed suspicious. (Ben Hohenstatt | Juneau Empire)

Businesses open day after ‘suspicious’ fire

Police and fire departments start an arson investigation

A day after a suspicious fire things are mostly back to normal on Glacier Avenue.

Businesses at 1248 Glacier Avenue were open Tuesday after a Monday morning fire that a fire marshal investigation indicated was likely caused by an explosion inside of a storage shed located under The Gym.

“The damage was pretty contained to specific parts of the building,” said Kristin Mabry, co-owner of the building. “The upstairs just had a little bit of smoke, which we had airing out all day. We even had class in there today.”

Mabry said the building’s basement was closed because of water damage, but it may be open again by Wednesday.

[Breaking: Firefighters respond to fire on Glacier Avenue]

The fire that caused the damage was possibly set intentionally, according to a Juneau Police Department press release issued Monday evening, and JPD and Capital City Fire/Rescue are initiating an arson investigation.

A firefighter readies to spray flames underneath The Gym, a Glacier Avenue gym, Monday, April 22, 2019. (Ben Hohenstatt | Juneau Empire)

A firefighter readies to spray flames underneath The Gym, a Glacier Avenue gym, Monday, April 22, 2019. (Ben Hohenstatt | Juneau Empire)

Anyone with information can call JPD at 586-0600 or submit an anonymous tip at JuneauCrimeLine.com

Steve Lewis, building co-owner, said he was told the fire was “energetic” and spread quickly, and surveillance footage from The Gym’s security camera has been given to authorities.

“We extracted the video last night from The Gym and we could tell exactly when the fire happened,” Lewis said. “No one showed up on video.”

Mabry said neighboring businesses had offered to share their security video footage in case it captured images of a suspect or suspects.

She said that combined with a swift response from CCFR and some Juneau residents who helped combat the fire before firefighters arrived were a silver lining to the otherwise negative event.

“The upside of this story is the flats and downtown Juneau are really coming together as a community,” she said.

[State considers adding additional trminal in Juneau for new ferries]

Lewis said the building’s fire suppression system also worked exactly as it was supposed to, which is another positive.

The building that houses The Gym, J&J Deli and more was the site of fire Monday, April 22, 2019. No one was harmed in the fire. Before Capital City Fire/Rescue arrived Alaska Electric Light & Power workers used fire extinguishers to help control the fire. (Ben Hohenstatt | Juneau Empire)

The building that houses The Gym, J&J Deli and more was the site of fire Monday, April 22, 2019. No one was harmed in the fire. Before Capital City Fire/Rescue arrived Alaska Electric Light & Power workers used fire extinguishers to help control the fire. (Ben Hohenstatt | Juneau Empire)

Lewis said there’s not yet a concrete estimate for value of the damage done by the fire, and an insurance adjuster will be taking a look at the building.

However, he said a contractor has looked at the lower portion of the building and said while the damage was relatively contained, it seems repair work will be significant.

“We had a contractor look at it already and they said, ‘Yeah this is a big project,” Lewis said.


• Contact arts and culture reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.


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