Valdez, AK – “My daughter heard an explosion,” said Donna Shantz. “She thought it was fireworks. She waited a bit and when she looked out her window, she saw the fire”. Shantz owns a home close to the multi-residential structure at 1703 Homestead Road that caught fire in the early morning hours Monday. “It was hot,” said Schantz. “I could feel the heat”.

Ambrosia Woodgate was hanging out with friends on the Mineral Creek Trail off Homestead Road just after midnight Sunday and as they were leaving the trailhead, she said they noticed the fire. “It was a huge fire,” Woodgate said. “We heard yelling and we were kind of shocked. We walked down the street and saw it was a house on fire”. Woodgate said they started hearing people call out for help. She said she and her friend got their phones out to call the police as her friends Bryce Tucker and Hunter Mathews ran toward the fire. Woodgate said as she approached the house, she saw Tucker and Mathews race to get a 10-foot ladder and prop it up against the burning structure so a resident could climb down. “It was burning as they were trying to get the people,” Woodgate said. Woodgate said she watched a male resident trying to come down the ladder with his dog. She said that another person came along and went back up the ladder to rescue the dog, Luna.
According to reports from Donna Shantz, the person who grabbed the dog was Cale Harrison. Shantz said that Harrison was standing outside the structure following the fire and told her that he and his girlfriend jumped out a 2nd story window when they saw they couldn’t exit another way. Shortly after the fire got going Harrison said that Henry Anderson pulled some cars away from the building so the ladder could be put up against it.

According to a press release from the City of Valdez, the residents were evacuated, and no injuries have been reported. “I can’t believe how quickly the building went up,” said Schantz. “Thank goodness there was no wind because it has been so dry. Kudos to the Fire Department for keeping it (the fire) contained”. The City of Valdez said Red Cross assistance has been requested for the residents displaced by the fire and the cause of the fire is currently under investigation by the Alaska State Fire Marshall.