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Fatal House Fire near Willow Under Investigation

Published On: Dec 24 2013 05:31:53 PM AKST   Updated On: Dec 23 2013 06:29:00 AM AKST

A man is dead after his cabin goes up in flames ... we talk with the neighbor who watched helplessly


A person was found dead in a house fire on the Parks Highway near Willow early Monday, according to Alaska State Troopers.

In a dispatch announcing the fatality Monday, troopers said they and representatives from the state fire marshal’s office were called just before 3:15 a.m. to Mile 62 of the Parks.

“One person was found deceased,” troopers wrote. “Positive identification has not been made at this time.”

AST spokesperson Beth Ipsen said the circumstances mean the body will likely be identified by state medical examiners.

The cabin that burned was only a few feet away from that of a neighbor.

Ipsen said the neighbor reported the blaze but was unable to rescue the person who was reportedly the burned cabin's sole occupant.

"The neighbor woke up, heard what he thought was crackling, looked out the window and saw flames," Ipsen said. "He just couldn't go in -- the flames kept him out."

Fire crews from communities including Meadow Lakes and Houston responded to the scene. Troopers were unsure about the fate of several cats reportedly in the home, though some animals made it outside and survived.

"There were two dogs and a goat that were tied to the house, but the rope burned so they got free," Ipsen said. "They're still searching for the goat."

According to Ipsen, one lane of the Parks Highway was temporarily closed by the fire, with a pilot car leading traffic past the vehicles of emergency responders that were parked near the cabin.

Troopers described the home, about 25 by 40 feet in size, was a total loss in the fire.

"There's not much left of this cabin," Ipsen said. An investigation into the cause of the incident is ongoing.