North Douglas fire claims garage, damages nearby house

A fire in the 5600 block of North Douglas Highway burned down a garage and claimed part of a nearby house tonight.

Fire Marshal Dan Jager says many Juneau firefighters were at a training exercise in Auke Bay when the call came in.

“So we could see the huge, dark, black column of smoke from quite a ways out of town,” he said.

Both the garage and house were unoccupied at the time of the fire, and Jager says there were no injuries.

About 20 to 30 firefighters responded. An engine from the downtown station was the first on scene. The crew used hand lines and hoses to knock down the flames.

North Douglas Highway was closed in both directions and Alaska Electric Light and Power shut off electricity to the area for about an hour.

The garage and house are owned by Joe Newman and Nancy Davis, who live in a neighboring house. They were remodeling the home that burned, which is a rental property.

Jager and Newman walked around the burned out area where the garage stood. Jager says he was trying to get a sense of what the garage was used for, and what might have been inside.

“He had some appliances, you know, different types of power tools and things like that, some personal items, stored lumber,” Jager said.

Jager says it’s too soon to say what caused the fire or estimate damages. The flames also damaged fiber optic lines used for telecommunications.

Even though the weather does not appear to be a factor in this case, Jager says the dry stretch we’re having right now means people should be careful when it comes to lighting fires.

“A lot of people are getting their open burn permits, which is required, and that’s great,” he said. “But if they don’t have to be burning, we’re strongly suggesting that they don’t.”

Jager says his investigation likely will continue on Friday.

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