July 31, 2009
Ketchikan, Alaska - Ketchikan Fire Department personnel responded to a report of "smoke coming from Hometown Furnishings" at 1817 Tongass Avenue att 6:32 PM on Tuesday evening, A Ketchikan Police officer arrived within 2 minutes of the call and confirmed the fire. Fire Department personnel arrived within 4 minutes of the initial report and found fire on the exterior of the building near a rear loading dock area. It appeared the fire had also entered the building near an overhead door according to information provided by Jim Hill, Fire Chief Ketchikan Fire Department. Incident commanders arrived and requested a 2nd alarm, called for "all hands to report to the scene", and reported a "working fire" at that location.
Water supply hoses across Tongass Avenue forced traffic to be rerouted to First Avenue for about the first 45 minutes of the fire. The fire on the exterior of the building was quickly extinguished but because the fire had started burning inside the walls, firefighters had to remove several sheets of metal siding to gain access to the fire.
According to information provided by Fire Chief Hill, the two-story building's lower level is occupied by Hometown Furnishings and the upper level is residential, occupied by employees of E.C. Phillips Co. E.C. Phillips is the owner of the building. With the help of E.C. Phillips management and civilians, Ketchikan Fire Department personnel evacuated the upper floor of the building and fire crews were able to quickly extinguished the fire.
Ketchikan Fire Department responded with two fire engines, one ladder truck and six support vehicles. A total of 18 Ketchikan Fire Department personnel responded to the call said Hill. Units cleared the scene at 8:24 PM. Damage to the residence and personal property is estimated at $20,000. Hill said the estimated value of the building and contents is about $3.5 million.
Hill confirmed Friday that the cause of the fire is still to be determined.
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