• 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

  • Sports

    Seattle Seahawks coming to Alaska to tackle childhood obesity

    by KTVA Sports on Jul 05, 13:05

    The Seattle Seahawks are coming to Southcentral Alaska next week. Linebacker Kevin Renne-Louis and defensive tackle Jimmy Staten will be at Wasilla’s Curtis D. Menard Memorial Sports Center Wednesday at 9 a.m. They will take part in the annual Mat-Su Play 60 Program. It’s part of the National Football League’s campaign to get kids more […]

  • Mt. Marathon Race

    2 Europeans crush records in storied Alaskan Mount Marathon race

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 05, 11:59

    It was a record-breaking Fourth of July in Seward as Spaniard runner, Kilian Jornet, and his Swedish girlfriend, Emelie Forsberg, dominated the Alaskan race. This is the first time in the 100-year history of Mount Marathon that an Alaskan has not won — leaving some wondering about the future of the race and whether the […]

  • News

    Fairbanks considers 5 percent marijuana sales tax

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 05, 11:17

    A proposal before the Fairbanks City Council would add a 5 percent sales tax to marijuana products when they become legal in 2016. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports (http://bit.ly/1G1l7TR ) that unless a council member specifically asks to discuss the proposal at Monday’s City Council meeting, it will advance to a public comment and a […]

  • News

    Support pours in for Mat-Su teen critically injured in 4-wheeler crash

    by Sierra Starks on Jul 04, 22:29

    A Mat-Su teen, known by many for his kindness and compassion, now needs that same kindness from others after a four-wheeler accident has left him seriously injured. Sam Allred has seen Internet fame and some time on the big screen — his YouTube video “Cuppy Cake Sam” went viral when he was a child and […]

  • News

    Plane forced to land on Seward Highway; no injuries reported

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 04, 20:28

    No injuries were reported after a plane was forced to land on the Seward Highway near Potter Marsh Saturday evening. The successful landing took place at around 7:45 p.m. The highway was closed for a short period of time while the plane was removed from the roadway. The plane was forced to land due to […]

  • Weather

    Weekend weather forecast

    by KTVA Weather on Jul 04, 17:12

    Anchorage Expect partly sunny skies with a slight chance of showers. Highs will top out in the upper-60s. Kenai Peninsula & Prince William Sound Expect a mix of sun and clouds. An isolated shower can’t be ruled out. Highs will be in the mid-60s. Southeast Alaska Partly to mostly cloudy skies is in the forecast […]

  • Mt. Marathon Race

    WATCH: 2015 Mount Marathon men’s race

    by KTVA Sports on Jul 04, 16:59

    Try Ustream Pro!     Kilian Jornet nabbed a record-breaking finish in the Mount Marathon men’s race with a time of 41 minutes, 48 seconds. The Spanish speedster beat the former record held by Eric Strabel by more than one minute. Strabel, who won back-to-back Mount Marathon races in 2013 and 2014, finished in fourth this […]

  • Crime

    Fairbanks man threatens ex-girlfriend with samurai sword, drives drunk

    by Associated Press on Jul 04, 14:15

    A 38-year-old Fairbanks man is in jail after troopers say he threatened his ex-girlfriend with a samurai sword before driving drunk and rolling his vehicle. The Fairbanks Daily News Miner reports (http://bit.ly/1LKmX2H ) that the man faces several charges, including felony assault. Alaska State Troopers say the man was drinking with his ex-girlfriend early Thursday […]