• 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

    Obama places parts of Beaufort, Chukchi seas off-limits for future oil and gas leasing

    by Hope Miller on Jan 27, 8:42

    The Obama administration is placing parts of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas off-limits from consideration for future oil and gas leasing, citing the need to protect areas critical for subsistence use by Alaska Natives. The Tuesday announcement comes as the administration is also proposing to open up a large section of the Atlantic Coast for […]

  • News

    Pick.Click.Give. hits $1 million mark

    by Lauren Maxwell on Jan 27, 8:11

    Alaskans are proving generous with their Permanent Fund Dividend checks. The people who run the Pick.Click.Give. program say they hit the $1 million mark over the weekend. Program Manager Heather Beaty said the money was raised in a record amount of time. The average donation is right around the $100 level, but even people who […]

  • Weather

    Daybreak weather, Jan. 27

    by Brett Shepard on Jan 27, 7:54

    Mostly to partly cloudy skies today with a few morning snow showers up and down the Cook Inlet. In the Southeast the weather will be quiet with mostly to partly cloudy skies. In the Interior it will be bitterly cold again with patchy ice fog in the valleys. On the North Slope skies will be […]

  • News

    Alaska Air Guard deploys to Africa

    by Bonney Bowman on Jan 27, 7:33

    The families of 70 Alaska Air National Guard members are saying goodbye as the unit prepares to deploy. The members of the 176th Wing and the 210th Rescue Squadron are headed to the Horn of Africa for four months. They’ll be flying rescue missions for both military and civilian personnel who need evacuation. It’s Tech Sgt. […]

  • Crime

    2 dead after early morning fourplex shooting

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 27, 4:37

    Last updated 9 a.m. Two people have died after a shooting at an East Anchorage fourplex early Tuesday morning, police say. The shooting, on the 6000 block of East 41st Court, happened just before 3:30 a.m., according to a statement from the Anchorage Police Department. Christian Haynes, 27, was declared dead at the scene. A 23-year-old woman […]

  • Lifestyle

    Measles in Alaska? State health department waits for results

    by Lauren Maxwell on Jan 27, 1:32

    Health officials in Alaska say it could be several more days until they learn whether the state is experiencing its first measles case in more than 15 years. A 1-year-old girl tested positive for the virus on Friday. The child had been traveling in California with her family, a state that is experiencing a measles outbreak. […]

  • Politics

    House, Senate discuss marijuana legalization

    by Associated Press on Jan 26, 23:47

    Alaska lawmakers are grappling with how to decriminalize marijuana after voters in November approved a ballot initiative to legalize the substance. The House and Senate judiciary committees are considering bills that would decriminalize marijuana in certain situations and create new laws, including making it illegal to provide pot to minors. But the bill being considered […]

  • News

    Proposed Anchorage School District budget includes no teacher layoffs

    by Alexis Fernandez on Jan 26, 23:31

    Teachers across the Anchorage School District can breathe a sigh of relief tonight – Superintendent Ed Graff says their jobs are safe next school year. Graff presented his proposed budget for the 2015-16 school year to the school board Monday night, and it includes no direct cuts to the classroom. He says he will use $17 […]