Chugiak Fire And Home Safety

Increase in Home Fires Prompts Officials to Warn About Space Heater Usage

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by Victoria Taylor

ANCHORAGE, Alaska  - A woman has died in a fire that destroyed a Chugiak cabin.
   
The woman died Monday after she ran back into the house despite getting out safely.
   
Chugiak volunteer fire department chief Virginia McMichael says the woman was seen coming out of the South Birchwood Loop Road with two other occupants.
   
McMichael says the woman's body was found inside several hours after firefighters started battling the fire.
   
Anchorage Fire Department spokesman Al Tamagni says a man was injured in the blaze and was transported to an Anchorage hospital.
   
McMichael says early indications point to a makeshift heater or stove as the origin of the fire.
   
The fatality is under investigation by the Alaska State Fire Marshal's office and the state medical examiner's office.

As temperatures drop, purchases of space heaters and stand alone heat sources increase.

Officials warn to check for frayed wiring, clean electrical outlets and chimneys,and make home safety a habit.

"Practice your fire safety plans, practice your escape routes, take a head count so when the firefighters do get here, we know if everybody is out and who we are looking for,: said Chugiak Fire Chief Virginia McMichael.

Anchorage Fire Captain Mike Stumbaugh says there tends to be more fire response during the holidays, "People are inside more and sometimes when you mix smoking or drinking with these elements, accidents can happen."

Capt. Stumbaugh recommends keeping a fire extinguisher in your kitchen.

Portions of this article contributed by The Associated Press.