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Two fires on different nights ignite same block of East Talkeetna

by Lorien Nettleton ~ November 12th, 2012

Arson a possibility: Residents advised to watchful of unusual activity

Two unoccupied buildings were severely burned by fires on two separate nights over the weekend in East Talkeetna. On Saturday night an aluminum-sided trailer was destroyed by fire on I street. On Sunday night, a second blaze ignited a house across the street from the site of the previous night’s fire, bringing the number of unexplained fires in Talkeetna to three in the last two weeks. The State Fire Marshall and Alaska State Troopers are investigating whether the fires were acts of arson.
The first reports of a fire on I street came in around 9 pm on Saturday, November 10th in East Talkeetna. Assistant Fire Chief Erik Denkewalter said the strucutre, an aluminum-sided trailer with a extended building attached to the back of it was in full blaze when Talkeetna Volunteer Fire Department first arrived on the scene and were joined by the Caswell fire department. Denkewalter says the responders were able to put a lot of water on the fire and bring it down around 12:30 am Sunday morning. The trailer is considered a total loss.

A second blaze was reported shortly before seven pm, on Sunday and was also located on I street, directly across the street from the fire of the previous night.

The second blaze was beginning to consume a larger unoccupied house. Fire responders from Talkeetna and Willow had the blaze under control in an hour, and completed their operations by 10:30 pm on Sunday. Damage to the house was not as substantial as the previous night, and the structure may be salvageable, according to the Fire Department. Alaska State Troopers have secured the site pending an investigation by the State Fire Marshall.

Lance Thompson lives on I street next to the fires this weekend, and placed the call to 911 on Sunday night. He says he hadn’t seen anything suspicious prior to either fire, but says the circumstances seem a little bit more than a coincidence.

Acting Fire Chief Eric Chappel says the three recent fires in under two weeks are cause for suspicion. None of the structures had power or heat at the time of the blaze, and the State Fire Marshall is investigating the possibility of arson. The Talkeetna Fire Department asks residents to be aware of their neighborhoods, and to report any unusual activity to the Alaska State Troopers.

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The second blaze was beginning to consume a house that had been unoccupied, and from initial reports, there was no electricity at that property. Fire responders had the blaze under control in an hour, and completed their operations by 9 pm on Sunday. Alaska State Troopers secured the site until the State Fire Marshall could make an investigation. The cause of both fires this weekend are still under investigation.

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