Six households displaced by week's run of fires in Mat-Su

Zaz Hollander

WASILLA -- A fire at a business just outside Wasilla Monday morning became the fifth fire in a week in the Mat-Su Borough, emergency officials say.

Crews were able to knock down Monday's fire at Harvest Motors near the Parks Highway before too much of the used car dealership was damaged, Central Mat-Su Chief James Steele said. He estimated that fire destroyed about a quarter of the business.

But on Sunday, a fire at a fourplex on West Lone Cub Drive in Wasilla displaced four families and destroyed more than half the structure, Steele said. The day before, fire destroyed a 1935-era Matanuska farm colony barn on Hyer Road.

A house fire Thursday in Wasilla displaced two adults and three children, according to Red Cross of Alaskan. Another fire last Monday in Big Lake displaced one adult.

Red Cross is providing hotel accommodations for most of the displaced people, and also giving them financial assistance with groceries, clothes and other supplies, spokeswoman Beth Bennett said.

Steele said there's been a spike in the number of fires in the Valley since January, when new limits on paid on-call emergency responders went into place. He said there's no one reason for the increase given the different causes assigned to earlier fires, such as electrical problems or cigarettes left burning.

Central Mat-Su fire investigator Don Cuthbert is looking into the causes of the recent fires, Steele said.

Reach Zaz Hollander at or 257-4317.