Heat, power, residents return to Kenai after quake

Nearly all residents evacuated from the Lilac Lane area after Sunday’s earthquake have returned home.

The 7.1 magnitude tremor caused two gas explosions that burnt four houses to the ground in Kenai, among other damages. Those who lived along Lilac Lane, Cook Inlet View Drive and Wells Way were taken to the Alaska Army National Guard Armory in Kenai for shelter until it was safe to return to the area.

By Monday morning, most of the residents made it back to their homes, said Kenai Fire Chief Jeff Tucker.

“At this point in time the area is open,” he said. “Right now it’s kind of wrapped up. We had some crews out there this morning but we’re pulling everyone back to the station.”

Only about a dozen residents had yet to make it back to their homes on Sunday night, Tucker said, because they had yet to get in touch with Enstar Natural Gas Co., which needs to inspect every home before restoring gas service.

Lindsay Hobson, communications manager for Enstar, said work on restoring heat to the area is almost finished.

“As of this morning, our system has been re-energized and we have restored service to 16 of the 24 homes in the Lilac Lane area,” she said.

Those last eight homes are pending due to Enstar organizing access to the buildings with the people who live there, Hobson said.

In turn, Homer Electric Association is waiting to get the all-clear from Enstar to restore service to the last of its meters in the area, said Director of Member Relations Joe Gallagher.

“We got most everybody in the Lilac Lane area back on last night, but as of today there are five meters … that are being disconnected because of fire damage,” he said. “Service will be discontinued until further notice.”

Families proved to be very helpful to Kenai Fire by cooperating and realizing the gravity of the situation, Tucker said.

“The biggest thing is, we’re very appreciative of the folks who live in the area as far as the evacuations,” he said.

Members of the American Red Cross of Alaska arrived at the Alaska Army National Guard Armory in Kenai from the Mat-Su Valley on Sunday afternoon to take over control of the temporary shelter set up by the armory and the Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management.

Site Director and Disaster Program Manager for the Southcentral region Shiloh Powell said the Red Cross closed the shelter at 1 p.m. on Monday. Those who were temporarily evacuated or displaced are getting their needs met, she said. Of the four families whose houses were lost, two had homeowners’ insurance and the other two have been working on long-term housing solutions with the Red Cross, Powell said.

“We are asking people who want to donate to bring any material donations to the Salvation Army,” she said.

Powell suggested people who want to donate items contact the Salvation Army ahead of time.

“What we’ve seen in these types of disasters is such gracious community support that people become overloaded with material donations and it becomes an issue of being able to manage them,” she said.

People who want to donate food can bring it to the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank, and Powell suggested reaching out to the Kenai Fire Department or Enstar to see if their employees need any meals.

“Those guys have been working their butts off for a couple of days,” she said.

Those who wish to give monetary donations can do so through the Pick.Click.Give program, and the contributions can be given to the Red Cross of Alaska, Powell said.

Powell said the Kenai Fire Department, Kenai Police, Office of Emergency Management, the armory, Borough Mayor Mike Navarre and several local businesses were extremely helpful and generous when it came to keeping residents comfortable and setting up the shelter.

• Megan Pacer is a reporter for the Peninsula Clarion. She can be reached at megan.pacer@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

(Juneau E
Aurora forecast for the week of Nov. 27

These forecasts are courtesy of the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute… Continue reading

Ron Ekis (wearing red) and Dakota Brown order from Devils Hideaway at the new Vintage Food Truck Park as Marty McKeown, owner of the property, shows seating facilities still under construction to other local media members on Wednesday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
New Vintage Food Truck Park makes year-round debut

Two of planned five food trucks now open, with covered seating and other offerings in the works.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

An aerial view of mud and forest debris that buried a stretch of the Zimovia Highway a day after a landslide struck an area of Wrangell on Nov. 21. (Photo courtesy of the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities)
Authorities in Wrangell suspend search for boy missing after deadly landslide

Authorities have suspended the search for the 12-year-old boy still missing following… Continue reading

Steve Bradford (left) and Mark Kissel, both vice presidents of the Riverside Condominiums Homeowners Association, discuss repairs to two of the complex’s buildings on Aug. 9 as a bulldozer places rock fill under a corner of one building exposed by erosion during record flooding of the Mendenhall River on Aug. 5. Repairs to both buildings ultimately were successful. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Juneau Community Foundation offering pool of $28,300 in relief funds to Suicide Basin flood victims

Deadline to apply is Dec. 31, funds will be divided among applicants.

Key Bank was one of the banks victimized by a Juneau man who was sentenced Tuesday to two-and-a-half years in prison for stealing nearly $580,000 multiple banks and credit unions between 2020 and 2022. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
Former Juneau armored guard sentenced to 2½ years for stealing from banks, credit unions

Austin Nolan Dwight Rutherford, 29, convicted of stealing nearly $580,000 between 2020 and 2022.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Monday, Dec. 4, 2023

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

The Juneau School District is entangled in a dispute with the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development about supplemental funds the city provides for what the district calls non-instructional purposes such as after-school programs and pupil transportation. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire file photo)
State seeks to change rules for ‘local contribution’ funds to school districts beyond the ‘cap’

Education department abandons challenge under existing state law to Juneau, other districts.

A chart shows the proposed plans for each of the Alaska Marine Highway System’s nine ferries next summer under a schedule open for public comment until Dec. 19. (Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities)
Proposed ferry schedule for next summer looks a lot like this year’s — with one possible big exception

Cross-Gulf sailings will resume if enough crew hired; AMHS begins two-week public comment period.

Most Read