• 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

  • News

    Presbyterian church first to present statewide apology at AFN

    by Liz Raines on Oct 22, 19:50

    It was an historic moment for the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) Saturday. For the first time, a religious organization came before an AFN convention to apologize to Alaska Native people from across the state for its hand in cultural oppression. Another milestone for AFN, 50 years after its creation. “You did nothing wrong. You were […]

  • News

    Alaska veterans receive warm welcome home after Honor Flight

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 22, 19:05

    A group of Alaska veterans returned Saturday from Washington D.C., where they visited our nation’s war memorials thanks to Last Frontier Honor Flight. The crowd waiting for their arrival at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport applauded as the veterans disembarked to the sounds of bagpipes from the Alaska Celtic Pipes and Drums (ACPD). The 23 […]

  • News

    SAVEarth project aims to provide homeless Alaskans with boots

    by Eric Ruble on Oct 22, 18:28

    While many Alaskans are celebrating the first snow of the season, it marks the beginning of a tough time of year for people living outdoors. A group from the Lower 48 is working to help Anchorage’s homeless in a big way. SAVEarth is assembling 1,100 pairs of boots with the help of volunteers. Each pair […]

  • News

    Whittier police begin patrolling Girdwood on short-term contract

    by Eric Ruble on Oct 22, 18:12

    After roughly three weeks without any law enforcement stationed in Girdwood, there are now Whittier Police Department (WPD) officers patrolling the town. It is the result of a short-term contract between the Girdwood Board of Supervisors, the Municipality of Anchorage and WPD that lasts through the end of the year. After the contract expires, there […]

  • Troopers: Selawik man dead after early morning fight

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 22, 16:47

    One man is dead and another is in custody after a fight broke out in the village of Selawik early Friday morning, Alaska State Troopers say. Troopers were notified of the fight at about 1:30 a.m., a dispatch explained, when someone from the village contacted them, saying 38-year-old Roscoe Cleveland had died after a fight. […]

  • Law enforcement raids Bethel house used by suspected drug dealers

    by Charles Enoch / KYUK on Oct 22, 16:28

    This story originated from KYUK Public Media and was republished with permission. BETHEL — State troopers, investigators and local police raided a house in Bethel this week and recovered heroin, crack cocaine, money and drug paraphernalia. They arrested seven people. According to the Alaska State Trooper dispatch, the Statewide Drug Enforcement Unit with local State and Wildlife Troopers […]

  • News

    Night-drop kennels: A warm, safe place for stray animals

    by Bonney Bowman on Oct 22, 15:58

    With the season’s first blanket of snow on the ground and temperatures dropping, a night outside is tough for lost pets. Anchorage Animal Care and Control (AACC) provides a warm, safe place if you find an animal and can’t take it home for the night. On the backside of the facility, the night-drop kennels are […]

  • A sign of respect: A kuspuk history lesson

    by Megan Edge on Oct 22, 15:01

    From attendees to politicians to members of the media, men and women dress their best at the annual Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) convention in Fairbanks. But dressing in your Sunday best is different in Alaska, especially at AFN. Here, people trade in their high-heeled shoes, suit jackets and ties for traditional Alaska Native garb, […]