• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
1m 58s

Zero injuries in duplex fire leaves one family with renewed sense of thankfulness

By KTVA Alaska 7:26 PM November 27, 2013

Six people left homeless in fire that gutted half of duplex

ANCHORAGE – A Tuesday night fire tore through a Russian Jack duplex, leaving six people homeless and Edna DeJesus wondering what she and her son will do with her grandkids for Thanksgiving.

Firefighters said fumes from a garage fuel tank are the likely culprit of the blaze after a nearby boiler kicked in, igniting the fuel with a explosion residents in the northeast neighborhood said felt like a vehicle slamming into their homes.

Edna DeJesus was at home with her dog Sam.

“I had finished cleaning the kitchen, so I sat down to watch a program and then all of a sudden I heard the explosion,” she said.

She thought it was from nearby JBER, but then she looked out her window.

“That’s when I saw the smoke,” she said. “It was really black, I mean, I had never seen such black smoke in my life, and that’s when I knew I had to get out of here.”

She ran downstairs, where she found her neighbor, Annette Wilson, already at her door. Wilson grabbed Edna — she left Sam in her garage — and packed her into the van already laden with kids. The group drove away to safety down the block.

“One minute, everything is going great, and then in a flash, it disappears,” Wilson said Wednesday afternoon. “I guess it’s the season to be grateful, and to reflect on our families and homes and our lives.”

On Wednesday afternoon, Edna was walking through her house surveying the damage. Save for streaks of ash in an upstairs bedroom closet, the home was remarkably undamaged. The acrid smell of smoke hung in the air as she looked through belongings in her bedroom. Her son Jessie Nieves waited outside for an insurance adjustor to arrive.

“We don’t know what we’re going to do,” she said, looking out the basement window. The power had been cut from the building, leaving only faint afternoon sunlight reflecting into the room.

“The most difficult thing is that we were going to have our Thanksgiving here,” she said. “We were going to have the kids, and  …” she trailed off. “That’s the most heartbreaking thing, that we’re not going to be able to do that.”

But today, with everyone safe and sound, Edna said she has a new understanding of what it means to be thankful.

Latest Stories

  • Crime

    2 arrested in connection with $30K stolen from Alaska fish hatchery

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Dec 20, 18:39

    Two Palmer men are in custody in connection with a burglary that occurred at an Alaskan fish hatchery last month. On Nov. 8, Alaska State Troopers were notified that $30,000 worth of steel, aluminum and copper had been stolen from the Eklutna Tailrace fish hatchery. The suspects also caused approximately $30,000 worth of damage by “cutting through walls […]

  • News

    Last call to get Christmas gifts in the mail

    by Shannon Ballard on Dec 20, 17:07

    The Saturday before Christmas is one of the busiest mailing days of the year — and for good reason. If gifters want to make sure their cards, presents and parcels arrive by Dec. 25, the deadline to send mail first-class or priority is today. “With our transportation network that we have, a lot of our priority […]

  • News

    Anchorage libraries get new self-checkout machines

    by Sierra Starks, Shannon Ballard on Dec 20, 16:24

    Anchorage Public Library is unveiling a new addition to its branch locations. Libraries around Anchorage debuted new self-service checkout machines last week. Z. J. Loussac Public Library launched their new machines Friday. On Saturday, library-goers could be seen testing out the touchscreen feature, returning books and DVDs and checking their account balances. Stacia McGourty, a reference and […]

  • News

    Man fatally struck, trapped under vehicle near downtown Anchorage

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Dec 20, 14:58

    A man is dead after a pedestrian-involved crash near downtown Anchorage that occurred early Saturday morning. At around 2:30 a.m., police and medics responded to the collision near the 1400 block of 12th Avenue. The 911 caller stated that a man delivering newspapers had struck a pedestrian, according to a statement from the Anchorage Police Department. […]

  • News

    Coast Guard rescues stranded Alaska hunter

    by Associated Press on Dec 20, 12:08

    The U.S. Coast Guard has rescued a hunter who was stranded on Chicagof Island in Alaska after he was separated from his hunting party. Rescuers in Juneau were alerted that there was a hunter in distress on the nearby island. They launched a helicopter crew to find him in the dark of night. The hunter […]

  • Sports

    Day 2: T-Bird Classic, Cougar Tip-Off

    by KTVA Sports on Dec 20, 11:52

    Day 2 of the T-Bird Classic brought a hot start for the Bears, whose girls won, 51-14, against Eagle River. A bomb threat briefly placed East High School on lockdown and the game was delayed. Kodiak’s Dannika Catt called the long delay at halftime “awkward at first.” “Because we didn’t know if we were still going […]

  • Sports

    UAA women’s basketball continues winning streak

    by KTVA Sports on Dec 20, 11:28

    The UAA women’s basketball team made their record 10-0 with another impressive performance Friday against Texas A&M Kingsville.

  • News

    Murkowski expresses concern about North Korean cyber hack

    by Lauren Maxwell on Dec 19, 22:31

    Sen. Lisa Murkowski said Friday she is very concerned now that the U.S. has established a link between the North Korean government and a recent hacking attack against Sony. The senator said the Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, considers the cyber attack a  national threat. “This hacking is directly linked to North Korea, there’s […]