Falls, fires and false labor — emergency crews were busy after Friday’s quake

Monday, December 24, 2018 - 11:07
  • Eagle River head football coach Bob Adkins talks to his team after practice on Friday, August 4, 2017 at Eagle River High. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)

Not everyone survived Friday morning’s quake unscathed. Calls for service were widespread in the immediate aftermath of the magnitude 7.0 shaker, with numerous calls reported for things like gas leaks and fire alarms.

The Chugiak-Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department responded to 28 calls in the 24 hours after the quake, including three structure fires, six medical calls, a pair of car crashes and 10 leak investigations. There was also a teacher who thought she was going into labor at Fire Lake Elementary, but the baby ended up deciding to wait until things calmed down outside.

Two fires were reported in Eagle River where the CVFRD was called to help out, while one was on Oberg Road where a bedroom caught on fire. CVFRD chief Tim Benningfield said the Oberg Road home was saved and the family is in the process of cleaning up. One of the Eagle River fires was minor, while the other was a “working fire” that caused extensive damage to a home.

There were several injuries reported, most of them bumps, bruises and cuts. But some were more serious, including one in which a man fell off a ladder trying to remove a blockage from his chimney.

Eagle River’s Bob Adkins — the Eagle River High football and basketball coach — said he lit a fire in the fireplace of his family’s Eagle River home Friday before power had been restored. The fire sent smoke billowing into the home, so Adkins got on a ladder to try and remove whatever was blocking the chimney.

Then he fell.

Adkins sustained injuries to his ankle, knee and wrists in the fall and will likely be laid up for some time.

“I’ve been in the same chair since Friday night,” said Adkins, who said he’s going to have to have surgery on his busted knee. On Sunday, Adkins said his main focus was on getting back to coaching.

“I’m trying to figure out how to get the season up and running,” he said from his chair.

Fortunately for Adkins, practice has been cancelled for the week for all teams due to the quake.

Benningfield said he was proud of the way his volunteers responded in the immediate aftermath of the quake. Within five minutes of the rumbling, he said a message had been sent to all volunteers to check on their homes and families and report to the fire station if possible.

Within 90 minutes, Benningfield said he had 45 volunteers ready to go to work.

“Something like this certainly puts all of your training into play,” he said.

Email Star editor Matt Tunseth at [email protected] or call 257-4274

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