At close to 2 a.m., Wed., people were on the roof of a burning home in Meadow Lakes trying to put out a fire with a garden hose, at 15 below zero, when Matanuska-Susitna Borough responders arrived.
Fire and EMS units from Meadow Lakes, Big Lake, Central MAT-SU, Houston and Willow responded to 7000 Island Lake Drive in Meadow Lakes on Dec. 17. EMS supervisor, Paula Weiss ushered the people off the roof to safety and then provided an initial report of fire conditions for incoming firefighting units.
Meadow Lakes Fire Chief Rocky Jones found fire in the roof area around the wood stove chimney pipe and one room on the second floor fully engulfed in flames. Firefighters aggressively attacked the fire and contained the majority of damage to the second floor. One room on the second floor was just about to flash over when firefighters knocked the fire down, according to a report from Central MAT-SU Fire Lieutenant Jake Boothby. While firefighters were fighting the fire upstairs, others were trying to cover and protect as much personal property as possible on the first floor. "The fire obviously started as a chimney fire that caught the roof on fire first and burned down," said District 2 Chief Bill Gamble. Four smoke detectors in the house had been recently checked, but went off after the fire burned through the roof and into the second floor, the owner said. She was initially alerted to the fire by the sound of debris falling down the chimney. The owner also told Chief Gamble that her 18-year-old grandson was sleeping in the room right below the roof fire and had to be woken up. Dogs were saved but a calico cat was still missing when emergency units left at approximately 4:30 a.m.
"All the emergency responders did a great job, especially considering the subzero temperature," said Chief Jones. Just a day earlier, Meadow Lakes Fire Department responded to another chimney fire. "Getting your chimney pipes cleaned and inspected on a regular basis is less costly and less traumatic than the fire that occurred last night. This fire had all the potential to get someone seriously injured or killed."