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Family was away when Two Rivers house burned; pets died

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Posted: Monday, October 29, 2012 7:55 am | Updated: 11:52 am, Mon Jan 21, 2013.

FAIRBANKS — Saturday’s house fire in Two Rivers started while its owners were grocery shopping in Fairbanks and consumed the entire house. It likely took the lives of the family’s Labrador retriever and cat.

Homeowner Jon Zumwalt said about noon on Saturday he got a call from his neighbor that his house at 170 Grange Hall Road was on fire. He returned quickly, beating an Alaska State Trooper to the scene, and found his house was engulfed.

Before he got there, a neighbor went into the smoking but not yet engulfed building on an unsuccessful search for the pets.

“He couldn’t find them and when he came out he basically saw fire coming through the wall between the garage and the house,” Zumwalt said.

Zumwalt, who bought the house about two years ago, had been living there with his wife and daughter. The family is staying at an extended stay hotel in Fairbanks and has not yet decided whether they will rebuild, Zumwalt said. They also have property in Delta Junction and in Montana.

Zumwalt said he does not know what caused the fire, but it looked like it started in the garage, which contained an ATV, a snow blower — neither one were running — and a Monitor heater.

Contact staff writer Sam Friedman at 459-7545. Follow him on Twitter, @FDNMcrime.

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