Wasilla Fire Contained

A massive fire in Wasilla has destroyed a two story commercial building. There are no injuries reported due to the blaze, but the building, which housed a business and a family, is a complete loss, according to Matanuska Susitna Borough safety officials.

The fire was called in about 5 am Tuesday morning. The four family members living in the building escaped unharmed.

Dennis Brodigan, the Borough’s emergency services director, says the second floor was engulfed when firefighters arrived.

“Being a very very large building, and with the types of items that were in the building it was a difficult fire to fight. Two adults and two children made it out and were uninjured. But the fire load was in the building an and it was a very diffucult building to extinguish. We got the call just before 5 am and we didn’t get it under control until about 12:15 this afternoon.”

He says Borough – wide firefighting resources were called in due to the danger of the fire spreading into tinder dry trees. Fire units from as far away as Willow responded.

Brodigan says the cause of the blaze is not known.

“Part of the mopping up and the continuation is for the fire code officials to do a complete investigation and they will determine the area of origen and perhaps even how it was ignited.”

The building on Wasilla Fishhook Road housed an electrical supply business – Crescent Electrical Supply Company. The fire affected a power line to the building, causing Matanuska Electric Association to shut down power to the area for a time to help firefighters supress the stubborn blaze. At first, the firefighting crews were unable to douse the roof of the building. The fire caused huge clouds of smoke to be visible over Wasilla.

Wasilla Fishhook Road was shut down temporarily, and school busses on their way to Iditarod ElementarySchool this [tuesday] morning were diverted to Wasilla Middle School, as the fire caused Iditarod to shut down for the day. Mat Su School District spokeswoman Catherine Esary says Iditarod school was not threatened by the fire.

The commercial building also housed a thrift shop and the offices of Hope For Heroes, a veteran’s non-profit.

Brodigan says a “wealth of synthetic products ” on site helped fuel the fire. So far, there is no estimate of the cost of the blaze.Two hundred MEA customers were without power during the blaze. The displaced family is being assisted by the Red Cross.

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APTI Reporter-Producer Ellen Lockyer started her radio career in the late 1980s, after a stint at bush Alaska weekly newspapers, the Copper Valley Views and the Cordova Times. When the Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound, Valdez Public Radio station KCHU needed a reporter, and Ellen picked up the microphone. Since then, she has literally traveled the length of the state, from Attu to Eagle and from Barrow to Juneau, covering Alaska stories on the ground for the AK show, Alaska News Nightly, the Alaska Morning News and for Anchorage public radio station, KSKA elockyer (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8446 | About Ellen

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