8th Avenue Fire

A Wednesday fire at an Eighth Avenue home is seen. The home has been vacant and boarded up for some time, but neighbors have said that they believed they have seen squatters using it. Fairbanks Fire Battalion Chief Kenneth Mayfield said the team found old mattresses and 1-pound propane cylinders, “which is what squatters typically use to try to provide heat.” Photo courtesy Teal Soden

A vacant Eighth Avenue home was significantly damaged by fire early Wednesday morning.

Fairbanks Fire Department responded to the blaze after a neighbor called 911 at 1:54 a.m., according to a news release issued this morning. Crews arrived within five minutes and found the 1st floor of the home fully involved.

Fire crews were able to put out the fire after about three hours. One firefighter sustained minor injuries and was taken to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital for treatment.

The home has been vacant and boarded up for some time, but neighbors on scene said they believed squatters had been using it.

“We found some old mattresses and 1-pound propane cylinders, which is what squatters typically use to try to provide heat,” Fairbanks Fire Battalion Chief Kenneth Mayfield said Wednesday afternoon.

The home’s age contributed to the damage sustained, according to Mayfield.

“The house was built in the 1940s and was insulated with sawdust. We had to cut the entirety of the ceiling,” Mayfield said, noting that the interior walls also sustained a great deal of damage.

The basement was relatively undamaged, but the home is uninhabitable at this time.

The cause of the fire is under investigation and there is some indication it may have been set intentionally, according to the news release.

The home is located between Barnette Street and Cowles Street.

University Fire Department and Fort Wainwright Fire Department rendered mutual aid during the incident.

Contact staff writer Dorothy Chomicz at 459-7582. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMcrime.