Officials investigating downtown fire as arson

Emergency officials are looking into a possible arson at a business on Franklin Street that took place early Tuesday morning.

At 12:12 a.m. Tuesday, Capital City Fire/Rescue responded to a fire alarm going off at Northstar Gift Shop, 259 South Franklin St.

Before CCFR arrived, three bystanders rushed over to the building, seeing it was on fire. One of them, Fire Marshal Dan Jager said, found that the front door was open and went inside. The person found a fire extinguisher and knocked down the fire as another bystander dialed 911.

CCFR responders then arrived at the scene, extinguishing the fire and clearing the building of smoke. There were no injuries, Jager said, and damage was limited to the window coverings.

The fire marshal’s office and the Juneau Police Department are investigating this as an intentional fire, Jager said. The only items that burned, he said, were the window coverings. There was no heat source anywhere near the window coverings, Jager said, which led investigators to believe the fire was set intentionally.

The shop is closed for the season, but is owned locally, Jager said. It’s unclear if there was a motive, Jager said, adding that the door was either forced open or wasn’t latched properly.

Anybody with information about the incident is asked to call Jager at 586-0260. He said the public is often a major help in cases like this where there’s little information, and he was relieved that there was only minimal damage.

“Any fire in the downtown corridor like that is really gonna be a big deal,” Jager said.

• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or

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