A house fire in Sitka claimed one life on Friday afternoon. Fire Chief Dave Miller said crews responded at 2:57 p.m. (9-21-20), after receiving calls about a mobile home that had caught fire at 147 Price Street.

“The original call came in and said that there were flames showing out the windows,” he said. “When we got around the area of the post office, we could see the smoke coming from it, so we knew it was a good fire.”

Firefighters arrived on the scene at 3:05, and began putting out the blaze. Miller said the flames were mostly confined to the living room and kitchen area, with the rest of the home sustaining smoke and heat damage.

The fire was extinguished in about five minutes. Miller said it was only after the blaze was mostly contained that firefighters learned that there may be one occupant inside. 

“We found one person in the trailer in one of the bedrooms,” he said. “We got that patient out and started CPR on her right away,  and transported her to Mt. Edgecumbe Medical Center fairly quickly.”

The victim was identified as 58-year-old Betty Jo Edenshaw, who died early Saturday morning. 

Miller says around 12 firefighters and 10 EMTs responded to the call. They are working with the Sitka Police Department to investigate the source of the fire.

“We’ll do all we can to figure out what started it,” Miller said. “Sometimes we can figure it out, sometimes we can’t. It’s just one of those things. Could have been electrical, or a spark, or anything.”
Miller says the local investigation will likely take a few days, and they’ll report the victim’s death to the medical examiner and state fire marshal’s office in Anchorage, who will determine if further investigation is necessary.