Jerome Dennis and his three adult sons were at home in Thunder Mountain Mobile Park on Tuesday night when they started hearing what sounded like gunfire.
“We all went down to the ground,” he said.
Dennis quickly went outside, where he saw flames next door and the neighbor exiting with two dogs. Dennis called 911 as he ran back to his house to tell his sons to get out, explosive blasts continuing, sometimes in rapid bursts.
“It went on a long time,” he said.
Capital City Fire/Rescue got the call at about 11:21 p.m., said Assistant Chief Ed Quinto, who was part of the first unit on the scene.
“It was a lot of fire, sounds of ammunition going off,” Quinto said.
The initial report said there were pets inside, but Quinto talked to the man with the dogs, who confirmed everyone was out. Meanwhile, the sounds of ammunition going off continued, “a stash of ammo,” he said. Firefighters stayed back for safety reasons.
“Lots of people in Juneau have ammunition,” Quinto said. “It’s dangerous — not like being fired from a gun — but they will put holes in the sheetrock. You have to be careful.”
The physical proximity of the house on fire to other homes also hampered access, Quinto said. Firefighters made sure the residences were evacuated and worked to protect homes on either side, both of which suffered heat damage because of the intensity of the fire. One of the homes suffered broken windows from the heat, he said.
Dennis pointed to the broken windows as he talked about what happened. “The flames were out to here,” he said, waving his hand just feet from his home.
A lot of people from the community came out of their homes to see what was happening, including Sky Martin, who lives down the street.
“I came outside because my dog was barking,” he said. “I thought it was fireworks at first.”
Quinto said the house that caught fire, valued at $58,000 according to the assessor’s office, is a total loss. The homeowner is insured, no one was hurt and no pets were hurt.
“It’s a good day when that happens,” he said.
Dennis said CCFR returned later to cover windows on his house.
“We do that so the family can continue to stay there,” Quinto said later. “We want to make sure that we take care of our citizens.”
CCFR cleared the scene after a couple of hours. Quinto said the American Red Cross assisted in providing housing to the occupants. The fire marshal is investigating.
• Contact Meredith Jordan at email@example.com or (907) 615-3190.