The Juneau community has been rallying to help the tenants displaced by a fire that gutted their duplex on Basin Road Monday night.
A couple and a single woman lost their home and all their belongings, and a pet dog lost its life in the blaze, which began just before midnight and then flared up again early the next morning.
But locals who don’t even know the fire victims have been working to help them in any way possible.
Jean Pierce launched an appeal on Facebook Wednesday, writing, “I am posting this for the lady whose house burned. She lost everything in the fire. She has no clothes or anything. She wears a size small jeans, ( guessing maybe 4 or 6 ), shirts size small , shoes 8-9 and medium size socks. Anything you have would help. … Please MG me if you can help.”
Pierce said she doesn’t know the woman, but wanted to help her “because she needed it.”
The response was heartening.
“We delivered what we collected last night,” Pierce told the Empire via Facebook Messenger. “She was overwhelmed. … She was surprised by all the donations to someone they don’t know.”
According to Pierce, the woman teaches diesel mechanics and lost her tools, and needs rain gear as well. Anyone wishing to donate items through Pierce can contact her on Facebook, she said.
Andrew Bogar from the American Red Cross also has been working to coordinate donations and said an informal “team” of friends has assembled to help out all three victims. Anyone wishing to offer help can call John Hartle at (907) 500-8416; they also can call Collette Costa at (907) 586-2875 or just drop off items between 2-8 p.m. at Gold Town Nickelodeon, 171 Shattuck Way, Suite 109.
Bogar said he was “really impressed” with the fundraising effort of one Juneau-Douglas High School student, who set up a table at the school and raised $100 in one day.
According to Bogar, the boy initially raised the funds for the couple who lost their home, but after they declined it, he decided to donate it to the Red Cross.
Capital City Fire/Rescue had responded to the fire in the 600 block of Basin Road at 11:39 p.m. Monday, Assistant Fire Chief Tod Chambers said.
Chambers said firefighters could not get the power turned off and called Alaska Electric Light & Power to shut off power to the entire block until the line was physically removed.
Firefighters cleared the scene at 3:34 a.m., but CCFR received a call at about 7:30 a.m. that the fire had ignited again.
CCFR Fire Marshal Dan Jager said it has been determined that the most likely cause of the fire was unattended cooking in the kitchen on the first floor.
“Fortunately, they had working smoke detectors that were able to alert the residents to the fire,” Jager said on Friday. “Everyone was asleep. … (but) they were able to get out. Without smoke detectors, it could have been a very different situation.”
The Red Cross has a Home Fire Campaign program that offers free installation and free service of smoke detectors. Juneau residents who need smoke alarms and/or fire education can call preparedness specialist Kate Pifer at 209-1329 or email email@example.com.
Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 523-2246 or firstname.lastname@example.org.