A Christmas day fire destroyed one Kodiak family’s single story home over the weekend. One person was home when the fire started and made it out safely, and no firefighters were injured in the blaze.
Gudie Rabang and his wife had owned their home at 3688 Sharatin Road for over a decade before Saturday’s fire. A GoFundMe page set up over the weekend had already collected over $20,000 for the couple; Rabang said the support has been overwhelming.
“I am so thankful,” he said. “We can’t believe how good neighbors [are], how good the community is here … there’s no words.”
Two engines from the Bayside Volunteer Fire Department and one from Kodiak’s city department responded to the fire at the Rabang home. Bayside Fire Chief Lee Finlayson said it most likely started at the back of the house on the porch.
“That’s definitely in the area where it had burned the longest,” said Finlayson.
Finlayson said the house was enveloped in flames when firefighters arrived on the scene, but that firefighters’ quick response kept damage to nearby structures minimal.
“We got it knocked down, stopped it from spreading to other structures,” he said. “We had a little damage on two other houses from radiant heat, but nothing like it could have been.”
The cause of the fire wasn’t immediately clear, according to Finlayson, but Rabang said faulty wiring had been cited in the days since the fire broke out.
Finlayson said the most important thing is that everyone made it out and no one was injured. But it’s an important reminder to others about how to mitigate fire risks in their own homes.
“Most important for people to remember especially this time of year, or any time for that matter, go to bed at night, close your bedroom door,” he said. “I know it makes people feel better when they can hear somebody, but when it comes to a fire, it stops that smoke and fire from impinging on that room.”
Closing doors between indoor spaces and outdoor cooking areas – where grills or deep fryers might be stored and used – can also make a critical difference when a fire breaks out.
Rabang said there’s not much left to salvage from his home, and that neighbors have been stopping by to offer what they can in the days since the fire. They’ve received housing and assistance from friends and nearby family, and plan to rebuild.