Alaska News

Palmer couple killed in house fire

Investigators are trying to determine what caused a house fire that killed a Palmer couple Saturday.

Arvette Loucks, 59, and Clyde Loucks, 64, died in the fire at their house in downtown Palmer, their daughter Elli Loucks said Sunday.

The couple had long lived in Anchorage but moved to Palmer in recent years. They had two children and three grandchildren, Elli Loucks said.

Neighbors of the house at 1036 Ronda Way, near the Glenn Highway, called dispatchers just before noon on Saturday to report the fire, said Palmer Fire and Rescue Assistant Chief Todd Russell Sunday.

Palmer police arrived first and found smoke and flames coming from the back bedroom of the one-story home. When they tried to enter the house they found a wall of smoke about a foot off the floor, Russell said.

"It had already settled that low," he said.

Firefighters did a "primary search" of the house as they were trying to get the fire under control and didn't find anyone, Russell said.


Later, after the fire was under control, a second search revealed the bodies of the victims.

Both were found in the bedroom, one in bed and one near the bed, Russell said.

"We don't know much about what happened," Elli Loucks wrote in a message Sunday. "Fire engulfed the bedroom, seems that dad got up to try to get mom and get out but did not make it."

A snake inside the house also died. A Chihuahua owned by the occupants was later seen running down the street in the neighborhood, Russell said.

The dog hasn't been found. Family members of the Loucks would like to have the dog back if it is located, he said.

It's not clear what caused the fire, which was contained to the bedroom. The Fire Marshal will visit the scene to investigate, Russell said.

Fire detectors were installed in the house but firefighters don't know if they were working at the time of the fire, he said.

Arvette and Clyde Loucks had mostly lived in Anchorage but had moved to Palmer a few years ago, said Elli Loucks.

Arvette Loucks had worked at Nordstrom for 20 years, most recently in the accessories and handbags department, and Clyde Loucks, before retiring, had worked as a manager at Johnson's Tire Service, their daughter said.

They had a second daughter, Cherisse Loucks, and three grandchildren, Elli Loucks said.

"They loved each other and their family," she said.

Michelle Theriault Boots

Michelle Theriault Boots is a longtime reporter for the Anchorage Daily News. She focuses on in-depth stories about the intersection of public policy and Alaskans' lives. Before joining the ADN in 2012, she worked at daily newspapers up and down the West Coast and earned a master's degree from the University of Oregon.