Mat-Su

Fast-moving fire destroys Big Lake home

BIG LAKE -- A fire at an unoccupied Big Lake home Thursday morning drew dozens of firefighters. It was briefly feared that one person was inside the house as flames engulfed the structure.

The fire destroyed the large wood home on West Lois Lane near Big Lake's airport.

The first reports came in just before 7 a.m., according to West Lakes Fire Department Battalion Chief James Keel. By mid-morning, all that was left was the concrete foundation where the garage used to be, a few large sections of wall and piles of steaming debris that fire crews were dousing with water.

One of the homeowners was known to be at work, but for about 30 minutes it wasn't clear whether the other person was still inside until they were located in Wasilla, Keel said.

Crews arrived to find fire on the first floor and flames shooting through the roof, he said. They began to treat the blaze as a defensive fire -- focusing efforts on containing it, rather than entering the structure to put the flames out.

A downed electrical line prevented crews from getting into the back of the house, Battalion Chief Allen Swett said. Responders had to wait for Matanuska Electric Association to send a crew.

Firefighters brought the fire under control, keeping flames from spreading to a nearby shed and a number of vehicles including a pickup, a bus and a boat, by 7:45 a.m., officials said.

Crews responded from Houston Fire Department, as well as the borough's Willow, West Lakes and Central Mat-Su departments.

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