• 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

  • Lifestyle

    Film festival kicks off with premier of last movie shot under tax incentive program

    by Bonney Bowman on Dec 03, 17:39

    The Anchorage International Film Festival kicked off Friday night, with the premier of a movie shot right here in our home state. “Sugar Mountain” was the last film made under the tax incentive program, which the state ended due to budget issues. “Sugar Mountain” was shot in Seward, and featured the town and its people. […]

  • Politics

    Green Party drops bid for statewide Pennsylvania recount

    by Associated Press on Dec 03, 17:29

    The Green Party is dropping its court case seeking a statewide recount of Pennsylvania’s Nov. 8 presidential election. It had wanted to explore whether voting machines and systems had been hacked and the election result manipulated. The decision came Saturday, two days before a court hearing in the case. Lawyers for the Green Party-backed voters […]

  • News

    Scholar says China concerned about Trump policy following Taiwan call

    by Associated Press on Dec 03, 17:28

    China’s foreign minister says he hopes Beijing’s relations with the U.S. won’t be “interfered with or damaged” after President-elect Donald Trump broke with decades-long diplomatic tradition and spoke directly with Taiwan’s leader. Hong Kong’s Phoenix TV reports that Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Saturday the call between Taiwan’s president and Trump was “just a […]

  • News

    Bergdahl seeks pardon from Obama to avert desertion trial

    by Associated Press on Dec 03, 17:22

    A former prisoner of war accused of endangering his U.S. comrades by walking off his post in Afghanistan is asking President Barack Obama to pardon him before leaving office. White House and Justice Department officials say U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl submitted the clemency request. If granted, it would allow Bergdahl to avert a court-martial […]

  • News

    Officials say up to 40 people may have perished in California warehouse fire

    by KTVA / AP on Dec 03, 15:41

    31st- pic.twitter.com/8TX6jk0iYq — Oakland Firefighters (@OaklandFireLive) December 3, 2016 OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Authorities say they fear up to 40 people might have died in a fire at an Oakland, California warehouse, which was hosting an electronic dance party. Alameda County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ray Kelly said Saturday that nine people were confirmed dead, and that he […]

  • News

    Bethel fire investigation reveals 2 bodies, police say

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Dec 03, 14:42

    Last updated at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3 Two Bethel residents were found dead inside their home after a fire early Saturday morning. Bethel police and fire personnel responded to the fire in the area of Trailer Court just after 1 a.m. and quickly extinguished it, according to a statement from Bethel Police Department […]

  • Weather

    Sitka airport closed after storm forced rocks, debris onto runway

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Dec 03, 14:13

    The Sitka Rocky Gutierrez Airport was closed for several hours Friday when a storm forced rocks and other debris onto the runway. High winds and heavy seas were blamed for the debris, which stretched across the runway for much of the day, according to the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. “The airport is […]

  • Lifestyle

    A night at the Bethel Winter House

    by Adrian Wagner/KYUK on Dec 03, 13:47

    Bethel’s homeless shelter, Bethel Winter House, opened earlier this week, providing relief from the cold to Bethel’s many in need. A story published by KYUK Public Media showed what it was like for guests on Wednesday night. Around dinnertime, Major Lonnie Upshaw checked a large convection oven. “I’m serving lasagna, and chicken alfredo pasta with rolls tonight,” Upshaw said. […]