Wind Whips Up Valley Fire; Family Assesses Damage
Firefighters continue to monitor embers
PALMER - As firefighters in the Mat-Su Valley continued to monitor burning embers Friday morning, the Pelletier family assessed their damaged property, which sits on the corner of Palmer-Fishhook Road and the Glenn Highway.
"The smoke was pouring over the top of the building here and I thought the back of the house was on fire,” said Skip Pelletier, recalling what he saw Thursday afternoon.
The Pelletier’s property escaped serious damage -- a large section of their backyard is now black and fire engulfed a stack of spare tires and wood.
The 700 pounds of fertilizer in the barn came pretty close to going up in flames when fire destroyed the barn’s door.
Pelletier credits firefighters who were quick to the scene as the reason his house is standing.
"The wind was 50 miles an hour, the trucks were in here, the guys were completely out of breath doing the best they could -- I have nothing but admiration,” said Pelletier.
Neighbor George Meyer saw it all begin when he stopped at the intersection of Palmer-Fishhook Road and the Glenn Highway to help a driver in trouble.
“I came down the road around 1:30 [Thursday afternoon] and I saw this truck had tipped over and I asked him what happened and his camper had flipped over and started the fire up on the brush up there,” said Meyer.
The fire spread fast, heading toward the Cedar Hill subdivision, which was evacuated.
Pelletier’s wife rushed to help their neighbors.
"The horse was totally freaked out; we couldn't catch it so we chased it out of the field after we took the fence down,” said Heather Pelletier, who helped set the llamas lose too.
“So they are somewhere, we are not sure where they went, we hope they are still on the property,” said Heather.
With wind gusts reported up to 80 miles an hour and wind chill below zero, conditions were rough at night for the more than 75 firefighters who were deployed to fight 11 different fires Thursday.
"I've always had an admiration for them, and they proved that last night,” said Pelletier, who owns the Fishhook Golf Course,
“I would like to have a free golf day for all the firefighters in the valley,” Heather said, “and invite our neighbors down the hill there to come up and feed them, because they saved our house and they saved all the houses down there -- it was pretty amazing.”