Capital City Fire/Rescue are investigating a fire that occurred in an abandoned building in the Mendenhall Valley on Aug. 19, 2021 as suspicious. (Courtesy Photo / CCFR)

Capital City Fire/Rescue are investigating a fire that occurred in an abandoned building in the Mendenhall Valley on Aug. 19, 2021 as suspicious. (Courtesy Photo / CCFR)

Mendenhall Valley fire under investigation as possible arson

There are a number of suspicious factors, the fire marshal said.

A Thursday evening fire in an abandoned building is being investigated as a possible arson, said the Capital City Fire/Rescue fire marshal.

“We have not been able to rule (arson) out,” said CCFR Fire Marshal Dan Jager in a phone interview. “So far in the investigation, we have not been able to find any reason a fire would start in that abandoned building.”

Eyewitnesses claimed to see people leaving the area shortly before smoke appeared from the building, Jager said.

“No one was living there, legally at least, so no one should have been there,” Jager said.

The amount of combustibles and structural damage made the fire a tricky one to extinguish, Jager said.

[Capital City Fire/Rescue responds to structure fire]

“There was a lot of combustible items stored in that building,” Jager said. “The problem was that the floor had burned quite a bit, and the roof and ceiling assemblies were also heavily damaged, so it wasn’t safe to get in there.”

Neighbors believed the building to have been abandoned since approximately 2013, Jager said, but that hasn’t been substantiated yet. The building’s owner doesn’t reside in Juneau, Jager said, but the city is working on getting in contact with them.

About 20-25 CCFR personnel responded to the call, Jager said.

“We still had three or four medical calls happening during that duration, so we were spread pretty thin on stuff,” Jager said.

The investigation will continue into next week as he looks for more eyewitnesses, Jager said.

Think you might know something?

Anyone with information on these case is asked to contact Jager at dan.jager@juneau.org or (907)586-0269, or CCFR at 907-586-6000. Jager said CCFR and JPD are particularly interested in anyone with photos or videos of the building before or during the event. They’re also interested in any information about anyone talking about the fire.

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

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