December 22, 2008
Ketchikan, Alaska - "Working smoke alarms" are credited for saving the lives of Rex and Sonja Westergard in an early Saturday morning house fire here in Ketchikan said Ketchikan Fire Chief Jim Hill.
The call came in to 911 dispatchers at 2:25 AM Saturday for a house fire at 3826 Hillside Road. First arriving units were on the scene in less than five minutes. When firefighters arrived, two of the occupants were outside. A third occupant was briefly unaccounted for, but it was soon learned he had spent the evening with relatives.
Hillside Road in the area of the fire's orgin.
Photo courtesy Ketchikan Fire Department
The Cold weather hampered firefighting efforts with early morning temperatures near 17 degrees. Frozen equipment and slippery conditions made fighting the fire difficult. Fire damage was confined to the lower level of the residence but smoke damage was significant on the upper levels of the home. Preliminary fire-loss estimates are $200,000 with $100,000 damage to the structure and about $100,000 in damages to the contents of the residence.
Ketchikan Fire Department cleared the scene at 4:49 AM and left two personnel on scene to secure the scene until investigators arrived at about 9:00 AM Saturday morning.
At this time the cause is still under investigation. Twenty-one Ketchikan Fire Department members responded on 7 apparatus.
Folks are reminded to check their smoke alarms and to have an escape plan with their families.
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