Fire Marshal Andrea Buchanan says this video was shot shortly before firefighters arrived. (Courtesy Ketchikan Fire Department)

Five Ketchikan residents are safe after a house fire Sunday night, but the blaze left the family’s home uninhabitable.

Ketchikan Fire Marshal Andrea Buchanan says a power strip sparked the Sunday night house fire at 1776 First Avenue.

“They had a plug into a plug into a plug,” she told KRBD in a phone interview.

That large electrical load along with a bend in the extension cord allowed a fire to start in a storage room.

Buchanan says the home was not equipped with smoke detectors. She says a male occupant heard a loud noise — like something falling onto the ground.

“When they came out to investigate, the male occupant found a fire to the rear of the house and he tried to extinguish it while the wife called 911,” she said.

Ketchikan firefighters arrived first, followed by North Tongass and South Tongass volunteers, around 30 responders in all. When they got there, Buchanan says they found the fire had spread to the attic.

Fortunately, all five residents escaped without injury. Buchanan says they’re currently staying with nearby friends and family.

Buchanan says the fire severely damaged the  house and ruined the family’s belongings.

“They had extensive smoke, heat and fire along with the water that was used to extinguish the fire,” she said. “And when you end up pulling ceilings to get to a concealed fire, you end up taking down a lot of drywall and insulation.”

Buchanan says there are a number of steps residents can take to prevent electrical fires. First, it’s important not to overload any particular plug, and extension cords should be treated with caution.

“Never use extension cords as permanent wiring,” she said. “Extension cords are to be used temporarily.”

She also stresses that everyone should ensure they have working smoke detectors in bedrooms, hallways and living spaces.

How to help

The family is taking donations of new and gently used clothing at Arctic Bar, 509 Water Street, and Ketch My Drip, 1725 Tongass Avenue. You can also contact Rhonda Ball at 617-0522.

Article of clothingSize
Women’s shoes8
Men’s shoes8 and 10.5
SocksMedium and large
T-shirtsMedium and large
Women’s leggings, sweatpantsLarge
Women’s pants, jeans12
Women’s shirtsLarge
Women’s underwearLarge
Men’s pants, jeans32×26 and 31×32
Men’s shirts (flannel preferred)Large
Men’s underwearLarge
Men’s undershirtsLarge