• 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

    Winter gives cold shoulder to Anchorage snow-based business

    by Dave Leval on Nov 21, 22:35

    Plow trucks usually hit the road around Alaska this time of year, clearing snow from parking lots and roads. But this year, most are parked in driveways, waiting for the next big snowfall to hit the Anchorage area. “We’ve got all the plows off the trucks,” said Mike Anderson, owner of Alaska Premier Services. It’s […]

  • News

    Caring for our soldiers at home

    by Bonney Bowman on Nov 21, 21:51

    Alaska soldiers deployed to Afghanistan have been home for a couple days; getting used to life away from the war and back with their families. It can be a tough adjustment, but the U.S. Army works to help the soldiers make a smooth transition. 1st Lt. Nathan Seaman and his fellow soldiers are going through […]

  • News

    Alaskan advocates optimistic about Obama immigration plan

    by Shannon Ballard on Nov 21, 20:52

    Alaskans are reacting to President Obama’s controversial plans to take executive action on immigration. Obama’s plan offers temporary legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants, including thousands in the 49th state. It also protects undocumented parents of children born in the states. Republicans are questioning the president’s right to bypass Congress and act on his own. […]

  • Weather

    Evening News weather, Nov. 21

    by KTVA Weather on Nov 21, 20:19

      Kenai Peninsula and Prince William Sound - Skies will be cloudy with a chance of showers. Southeast - The panhandle will have showers with snow levels 1000′ to the north and 1400′ around Juneau. Interior and North Slope - Areas will have a mix of sun and clouds with some snow showers by Delta Junction. Slope areas […]

  • News

    Program works to reduce Alaska’s high recidivism rate

    by Lauren Maxwell on Nov 21, 19:43

    About half the people who get out of prison in Alaska will be back within six months: It’s a costly problem some say will require a new prison by 2016 if something doesn’t change. A new state-funded program is hoping to make a difference. It’s called the Partners Reentry Center, and it’s where George Goenett […]

  • News

    Port of Anchorage modernization plan moves forward

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 21, 18:34

    Mayor Dan Sullivan and Anchorage Port Modernization Project engineers unveiled the project’s chosen design concept during a presentation to local lawmakers Friday at City Hall. Concept D involves cutting back and stabilizing the Port of Anchorage’s North Extension, filling shoreline to create additional acreage and rebuilding Terminal 1 and Terminal 2, according to documents distributed […]

  • News

    Alaska unemployment unchanged since August

    by Associated Press on Nov 21, 15:23

    Alaska’s unemployment rate stood at 6.8 percent in October, a full percentage point above the national average. The state labor department says the difference between the two is getting closer to the gap that existed before the recession. During the recession, Alaska’s seasonally adjusted rate fell below that of the national rate, as Alaska wasn’t […]

  • News

    Pipeline projects gets an export approval

    by Associated Press on Nov 21, 15:00

    A federal agency has approved the export of liquefied natural gas from a proposed mega-project in Alaska to free-trade nations. The U.S. Department of Energy said Friday that the automatic approval, which was required by law, should not be read to indicate the department’s views on a still-pending request to export to non-free trade countries, […]