A fire Friday night destroyed a long existing home and shop on Souhrada Road near Northern Pike. Fire crews were dispatched about 5 p.m. for the confirmed structure fire. Upon arrival, fire crews reported heavy flames coming from the 100 by 100-foot shop and adjacent home with other structures being threatened.
Rural Deltana Fire Chief Tim Castleberry said when crews arrived both the shop and home were completely gone and firefighters turned their attention to keeping the fire from spreading to a nearby mobile home and other items.
“We had a lot of heavy flames coming from the structure,” Castleberry said, “Some were more than 50 feet high.”
Castleberry said 24 firefighters from Rural Deltana, City of Delta Junction, and Fort Greely responded to the call. It took about 45 minutes to bring the fire under control and to prevent possible spread, he said.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but Castleberry said it was reported to have started in a well pumphouse adjacent to the structure that contained a heater. The residents said they saw smoke, and then fire which took off quickly and expanded into the shop and home. He said they reported both structures quickly became heavily consumed by fire.
Fire crews worked until after midnight in the subzero temperatures to completely extinguish the fire. Castleberry said it took a lot of time to remove the tin remaining from the large roof to get to the base of the fire. There was also a lot of equipment and items in the building that hampered working in the remains of the structure to make sure the fire was out.
Castleberry said fire crews were also concerned about hazardous fumes from the possible contents of the building, but air gas tests did not confirm any issues.
Souhrada Road was closed for several hours during the fire operation to allow crews to operate safely while transferring water for the suppression operation. Castleberry said it took about 25,000 gallons of water to extinguish the blaze.
Castleberry wanted to thank the IGA Food Cache which opened after hours to provide food and beverages for the fire crews. He said he was thankful for the support from the community, especially those that assist in supporting firefighters when they are unable to leave the fire scene. He mentioned that Delta Petro Wash has also provided food for firefighters recently.
The Red Cross responded to help the residents with temporary housing, and the Forget Me Knot Quilters Guild provided quilts to the residents to help them get reestablished.
The author is assistant chief of the Rural Deltana Volunteer Fire Department.