Juneau woman dies following house fire, despite rescue attempt by neighbors

Engine 21
Capital City Fire/Rescue Engine 21 on June 30, 2014. (Photo courtesy Rich Etheridge/CCFR)

Update (Wednesday, 11:57 a.m.) — Ryan Cunningham, KTOO

Capital City Fire/Rescue has identified the victim of Monday’s house fire as Mona R. Azevedo, 77, of Juneau.

Original story

Local authorities will seek federal help investigating the origin of a fire that led to a woman’s death Monday night in the Mendenhall Valley.

Capital City Fire/Rescue responded to a home on the 4000 block of Dogwood Lane to find it filled with smoke, along with several neighbors performing CPR on a resident in the driveway.

Assistant Fire Chief Travis Mead said crews were able to put the fire out quickly, in part because neighbors used a fire extinguisher inside before they arrived.

“Within a few minutes, they were able to finish off and get it knocked down and perform a primary search of the residence to make sure there were no other victims,” Mead said.

Mead said neighbors called 911 around 6:30 p.m. When no one answered the door of the home, several went inside and removed the resident before CCFR arrived. First responders took over CPR and were able to regain a pulse before transporting the resident to Bartlett Regional Hospital.

At the hospital, the resident went into cardiac arrest and later died. She has not yet been identified by authorities.

Mead said even though he realizes neighbors were trying to help, he urges that no one should enter a structure filled with smoke or fire unless they have protective gear. He said it’s lucky that no other injuries occurred.

“Unfortunately, even though their efforts were very commendable, it didn’t make a difference for this person,” Mead said. “The risk is increasing your number of victims (in) the fire.”

Fire Marshal Dan Jager said his investigation so far has revealed that the fire originated on a countertop in the kitchen. They also found a melted appliance that may have been the source. It will be sent to the federal Fire Research Laboratory in Maryland for analysis.

“They’re going to check it out and see if they can identify what it is and if there was any kind of product failure that caused the fire,” Jager said.

He said damage to the home is estimated to be $30,000, mainly due to smoke damage. The home didn’t sustain any structural damage, but Jager does not know if it’s insured.

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