Two Sutton residents dead in early morning house fire

Tegan Hanlon

Two people died early Friday when their small home in Sutton went up in flames, according to the Sutton Fire Department.

Shortly before 1 a.m. a 46-year-old man inside the one-story house at 21682 East McPherson Avenue woke up and opened his bedroom door to find a wall of thick black smoke from the ceiling down to his knees, said Phil Blydenburgh, assistant chief with the Sutton Fire Department.

The man crawled out a door, exiting the home on East McPherson Avenue and heading toward a neighbor's house, he said.

At the home next door, Bobbie Hamby and her husband woke up to a loud popping sound coming from the neighbor's house about 50 feet away, Hamby said.

Her husband went downstairs, saw the fire and told her to call 911. The man who had narrowly escaped from the house was on their front porch.

"We heard him crying and moaning. It's almost hard to describe the noise he was making. He was in shock," Hamby said. "He just kept saying, 'I couldn't get them out. I couldn't get them out.'"

At 12:55 a.m., the call from Hamby came into dispatch. At 1:20 a.m., a second call came in saying people were still inside the home, said Dennis Brodigan, director of the Mat-Su Borough's Department of Emergency Services.

About 25 firefighters from Sutton, Butte and Palmer arrived on scene along with ambulances and water tanks, Blydenburgh said.

"When we pulled up the house was pretty fully involved," he said. "Flames on all four sides, flames were coming out the windows."

The home was about 850-square-feet with wood siding. Firefighters did a check around the perimeter but the flames were so hot that even with fire line and protective gear they had trouble getting close to the structure, he said. They blasted water and foam onto the home.

By 1:41 a.m. the fire was knocked down. By 2:26 a.m. firefighters confirmed one fatality. By 2:30 a.m., they confirmed two, Brodigan said.

One body was found about five feet from the door and the other in a bedroom, said Beth Ipsen, troopers spokeswoman.

Officials had not released the identities of the two killed Friday evening. The details surrounding the cause of the fire remain unclear.

"Too early to tell because the investigation is just starting," Ipsen said.

Reach Tegan Hanlon at or 257-4589.