Story last updated at 7:37 PM on Wednesday, November 19, 2008

More questions than answers in Saturday's fire


The victim of a Saturday afternoon fire on Diamond Ridge still had not been identified as of Wednesday afternoon.


Photographer: Michael Armstrong, Homer News

Homer Volunteer Fire Department firefighters stand by as Alaska State Troopers investigate a fire on Misty Ridge Road off Diamond Ridge Road on Sunday afternoon.

Firefighters found the badly burned remains of a person inside the cabin, which burned to the ground, at 40495 Misty Ridge Road, a side street on Diamond Ridge Road near the Hickerson Memorial Cemetery.

According to Kenai Peninsula Borough tax records, a cabin at that address is owned by Herbert L. Caruthers.

The body was completely unrecognizable and was sent to the State Medical Examiner's office for an autopsy to determine cause of death and its identity, said Megan Peters, a spokesperson for the Alaska Department of Public Safety.

As of Wednesday morning, an autopsy had not been done. No identification has been made as to sex or age, and the identification process won't start until an autopsy is done. Analysis of dental records and DNA may need to be done to make final identification, all of which takes time, Peters said.

Alaska State Troopers and the Alaska Bureau of Investigation, Soldotna, worked the fire scene Saturday. Troopers had marked off areas related to the fire with crime scene tape, and identified evidence -- including clothing -- as related to the fire.

The cause and origin of the fire remains unknown, Peters said.

It is not yet known if foul play was involved.

Homer Volunteer Fire Department firefighters went to the fire about 2:40 p.m. Saturday. The fire burned a cabin down a path on the west side of Misty Ridge Road. Fifteen HVFD firefighters and EMTs went to the fire. Engine 2 from Homer fire and engine 21 from Kachemak Emergency Services responded. Crews returned to the station about 5:25 p.m., but came back about 10:10 p.m. to extinguish a fire that flared up from smoldering remains.

Officials at the Homer fire department, the State Medical Examiner's Office and the Alaska Bureau of Investigation referred all requests for information to Peters for any official statements.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at