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swanny
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Ace Callaway's house burned down ( 15:22:46 FriJan 4 2008 )

Ace Callaway was a moderator of this board for several years. According to an article in the Fairbanks Daily New Miner his home burned down. Because it was located literally on the wrong side of the street the fire department turned back and refused to respond.

Details at
News Miner Article [232 clicks]


Ace, we're feelin' bad for you. If you need anything just post a message.



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Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." Benjamin Franklin 1759
 
 
Jim_Alaska
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Re: Ace Callaway's house burned down ( 16:04:28 FriJan 4 2008 )

Terrible, fire is so devastating, especially under circumstances like this. Wish I were there to help out.

Forum members who live in Fairbanks may be able to help them out in some way.

Ace probably will not be able to post his needs on the forum since he probably lost his computer, or has no home to set it up in.

His wife works for Oxford Assaying and refining here: 29 College Road Suite 10, Fairbanks, AK.

Perhaps anyone wanting to help can run by there and make contact with her, her name is Kat.



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SeaWolf
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Re: Ace Callaway's house burned down ( 15:23:51 SatJan 5 2008 )

Such a shame. I hope they make out well. That stunt was just WRONG. Firefighters are sworn to protect (but maybe not in AK) .. Politics shouldn't dictate whether or not the fire dept does it's job. Especially when they were already there. If the FD sends him a bill for the call, I hope he burns it and sends the ashes back to them. What an awful way to start the new year.

  
bendan
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Re: Ace Callaway's house burned down ( 21:18:42 SatJan 5 2008 )

Yeah looks like a mighty tough situation just got worse for him. First a divorce then the fire. There have been a couple incidences like this in the Fairbanks area. Looks like people need to improve plans to protect their communities. Hope he can regroup and that his insurance is good.

  
egalite
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Re: Ace Callaway's house burned down ( 21:42:49 SatJan 5 2008 )

ace,

i am so sorry to hear your home burnt.
i read the article yesterday and was disappointed the firefighters turned away. this was before i knew it was you.

our home burnt to the ground on dec 18, and it was directly across the street from the volunteer fire station. firefighters did not have enough water to fight the fire and 8 units with thirteen people lost their homes. topping it off, eagle river lost a ladder truck. ultimately, eight fire stations responded.

i did salvage most of my traps, but lost a few furs. the connibears that were preset (to the safety catch) have shot springs, while the connibears that were not preset have perfectly good springs. don't buy new springs, restore them. the springs have to be relaxed, heated, and then quenched.

again, ace, i am so sorry.


ron
[2 edits; Last edit by egalite at 22:05:04 Sat Jan 5 2008]

  
AKstyle
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Re: Ace Callaway's house burned down ( 04:43:38 SunJan 6 2008 )

I'm sorry for your loss as well Ace....fires are devastating. I really hope nobody takes this the wrong way....I'm sure some will. I'm a firefighter and I read things saying "they were there and they just let it burn down." Well I wasn't there, but I will tell you I'm sure there was an officer there holding those guys back, and the only reason that officer was holding them back was because somebody higher up made this rule and said they must follow it. We want nothing more than to run in there and do our thing, thats what we love doing....thats why we do it. We feel horrible having to watch something burn knowing we can do something about it but there are rules that we must follow. The only thing that allows us to break that rule is if there is a life at risk or an exposure that is within the fire service area. People outside the fire service area don't pay for fire protection, it doesn't matter if its 2 feet or 5 miles. Fire departments don't send people bills either...they have already paid at tax time. I just hope people don't get the impression that the firefighters didn't want to help and again I'm sorry for your loss.

  
Trapper_John
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Re: Ace Callaway's house burned down ( 07:17:49 ThuJan 10 2008 )

I'm not trying to rub anyone the wrong way because Ace is a great guy and has help a lot of people out on this forum. I use to work for the fire department in question when I was in Fairbanks. I'm still a firefighter so I would like you all to know why this happens sometimes.
What happened on that fire was that Ace's house was outside of a fire protection district. As harsh as it sounds, this area in Fox needs to incorporate and pay taxes for fire protection if they want the fire department to respond. The problem with saying that the fire department should respond anyway is a liability issue. What happens if fire departments respond to fires outside of where the tax payers pay for the service and then you a taxpayer lose your house to a fire. You paid taxes expecting fire suppression, but the fre department was busy putting out a fire outside of the taxed area. How far outside of the taxed area should a fire department then go? The boundaries are established by people incorporating or annexing into a fire protection district. They would then pay for the equipment, training and cost of the service.
This is an emotional issue and nobody wins when there is a fire loss. I have a number of friends in the Steese Fire Department and they too are bothered that this happens in Fox. Every firefighter I know joined the fire service to help people and make a difference. I have personnaly been in the same situation in Fox before and it is a terrible feeling to watch a fire burn uncontrolled. My heart goes out to Ace and I hope he gets through this.

John

  
Mistr
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Re: Ace Callaway's house burned down ( 14:02:52 ThuJan 10 2008 )

I am also very sorry for what happened to Ace. Your system of fire protection is quite strange to me. In our country there are two levels of fire protection. The professionals payed by state (no fire protection boundaries, they intervene everywhere it is needed) and hobby firefighters who are sponsored by state and do they work just as a free time hobby. Virtually, each village and town in our country has its own hobby fire fighter unit.

  
Contender
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Re: Ace Callaway's house burned down ( 06:56:17 FriJan 11 2008 )

The unfortunate accident of the Callaway house burning down is saddening to say the least. It has caused a furor in the local newspaper and on the talk radio shows not to mention all of the heated personal discussions that have taken place on the subject. This is the case every time this happens but we all know that it does happen from time to time.
I live about 2 or 3 miles from Ace and I am in the Steese Fire District. Between fire coverage and road maintenance I pay an additional $913 per year in taxes above and beyond my regular house tax. My tax bill states that I am in the SFD and likewise Ace's tax bill will show that he isn't covered.
As cold hearted as it sounds you can't expect the fire department to unroll hoses and empty the tanker trucks in sub-zero temperatures and still be prepared to fight a fire or save a life if we were trapped in a fire at my house for which I paid for the service.
I'm sure Ace understands this as painful as it is. Fortunately he was smart enough to have insurance on the house and property.
My heart truly goes out to Ace at this time when I'm sure it seems as if everything is working against him.

  
antlerchaser
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Re: Ace Callaway's house burned down ( 12:39:30 SunJan 20 2008 )

It is what it is and debating it is useless . If anyone gets in contact with him to see what he needs , please let us know. We are purging our house of may things because of lack of room and can send him bedding , clothes , whatever can help. I would rather send it to him than take it to good will at this point. Thanks.

  
1SG
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Re: Ace Callaway's house burned down ( 18:09:06 FriJan 25 2008 )

Simply asinine...

Wish you the best Ace, sorry I am not there to offer you any assistance.

I doubt I could have handled it as well as Ace, there probably would have been another related article the following day in the Newsminer.

This is wrong on so so so many levels. The correct course of action is put out the fire and charge the occupants later for services. I have been to ACE's house hell you can see the fire department from his front door damn near..

simply wrong,

  
windsurferlawman
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Re: Ace Callaway's house burned down ( 03:12:59 WedJan 30 2008 )

Trapper John,

If that is the case, that you could get sued by someone for bnot being there for them in their time of need, why would you sit there and watch it burn? Shouldn't you head back to the station house to prepare your gear and rig for the next call?

I used to be involved with law enforcement and this is flat out bs! How would you explain a fire dept helping out the next town? Do they send the town a bill since the home owner didn't pay taxes in their district?

I guarantee this would not have happened here in MN!

I know Ace is well liked on this site and for good reason, but I don't care who it is. If the town had a mayor with something between his legs the fire dept would have acted.

Good luck Ace and I wish you the best!

Michael

  
Jim_Alaska
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Re: Ace Callaway's house burned down ( 04:00:05 WedJan 30 2008 )

Michael, there is no town, Fox is just a wide place in the road. The fire dept. is totally volunteer, so there is no reciprocal support to other communities.



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Trapper_John
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Re: Ace Callaway's house burned down ( 05:38:23 WedJan 30 2008 )

This will be my last open dialog response as I think the intent of this thread was to share a situation and support Ace. As a firefighter I felt that the other side of this wasn't respresented and as others have done, I shared what I know. I don't want this to become a big bash fest. My career in the fire service started as a volunteer after my house caught fire. Please feel free to PM me if you want to continue a response to my comments.

Ace is a good man and has helped all of us over the years. My earlier comments were in no way meant to distract from his loss or the terrible grief this has caused.

Windsurflawman, I sent you a PM.

  
windsurferlawman
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Re: Ace Callaway's house burned down ( 14:08:26 WedJan 30 2008 )

Ahh, got it Jim. They make it sound like they pulled up and grabbed some chairs to watch the fire.

Has anyone herd from Ace?

Michael

  
LipCa
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Re: Ace Callaway's house burned down ( 17:57:12 WedJan 30 2008 )

He was fortunate that everything was moved out of the house before the fire(or so it was stated over on the Gold forum).

So many things could have been irreplaceable.......

  
windsurferlawman
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Re: Ace Callaway's house burned down ( 22:48:12 WedJan 30 2008 )

Fires outside service areas leave homeowners in the cold
By Chris Freiberg
Staff Writer
Published January 13, 2008


Ace Callaway said he was shocked when the firefighters who arrived at his home to combat a mid-day blaze on Jan. 3 left when they realized the home, just off the Steese Highway in Fox, was outside their coverage area.

Fire officials told Callaway his home was 180 feet out of the service district. Callaway said he assumed — wrongly — that he was protected since he paid for fire insurance. Paying for fire insurance, however, isn’t the same as paying for fire protection.

The fire, left to burn, consumed his modest log cabin home over several hours.

That incident has many people talking about, and making accusations over, the issue of fire protection in the borough.

It’s a complicated topic that can be easily misunderstood.

Unlike ambulance service, which is available to all borough residents and paid for with a property tax collected outside the cities, fire protection is only available to those living within a taxed fire service area. The areas make up a patchwork of multiple departments covering portions of the borough. There is no boroughwide fire protection. Arriving at a fire only to discover it is outside a fire service area’s boundaries and having to leave the scene is not a situation that firefighters relish.

“We want to help,” said Jerry Hansen, deputy chief of the North Star Volunteer Fire Department. “Nothing tears the heart of afirefighter more than having to turn around and not fight a fire.”

Fire departments will go outside their service area if there is a life-threatening emergency. In that case they will try to save the person, though they will still make no effort to save a structure other than what’s necessary in the course of the rescue.

That might seem cold-hearted to some borough residents, but officials say it’s a necessary part of fire protection in the Last Frontier. The fire service areas in the borough, mostly made up of volunteers, are completely reliant on the taxes they take in to stay in operation.

“What right does someone have to ask for service if they don’t live in the area?” asked Mitch Flynn, fire chief for the Steese Area Volunteer Fire Department, which responded to the Callaway call. “It would be unethical to take the apparatus and readiness from people who pay for it.”

Officials say that fighting fires outside their areas can also subject firefighters to unnecessary risks. There are also possible legal repercussions for fighting a fire outside a service area, as a department could be sued by a homeowner inside the district who sustains damage to their property or person while firefighters are away.

The ‘T’ word

Getting into a fire protection district is a simple process, but only if you live on the border. The application must be approved by the borough, and Emergency Director Barry Jennings said no one has ever been denied. Five people on the borders of fire districts applied for protection in 2007.

For protection in the North Star Volunteer Fire Service Area, the cost is an annual tax of $120 for every $100,000 of a property’s assessed worth. The cost of Steese fire service is $160 for every $100,000 of a property’s assessed worth. Despite the tax increase, homeowners can save quite a bit of money on fire insurance.

Hansen estimated that the annual cost of fire insurance inside a protection area is $400 to $500, compared to $3,000 outside a protection area.

In addition, the departments have mutual aid agreements with each other that legally allow them to assist in battling fires outside their respective districts.

“It’s not a difficult argument, but I find it’s very difficult to get a perspective on the issue when you use the word ‘tax,’” he said.

While fire service areas around the borough could expand their coverage, state law prohibits them from publicly campaigning for it. If someone comes to a fire station asking about protection, firefighters are allowed to give them a packet of information on the subject. But that’s about it.

“We’re happy to take them in, but we can’t go out and actively solicit people,” North Star Chief Jeff Tucker said.

Joining an existing fire service area is a difficult prospect for those who don’t live on the borders of existing districts because the neighbors have to be contacted and an election is usually required. For those residing farther out, the obstacles are larger.

For example, the 500-person unincorporated area of Two Rivers is a good 30 minutes from the nearest North Star station, making annexation impractical. Officials admit that raising the necessary funds and equipment to form another protection area to serve Two Rivers would also be problematic.

That’s exactly what Marvin Root, a volunteer emergency medical technician with Steese was asked to look into several years ago by fellow Two Rivers residents. He learned that forming a fire protection area would result in a tax increase of $200 for every $100,000 of a property’s assessed worth.

“It would be possible to get equipment fairly cheaply, but it would be surplus, and it’s surplus because it’s old,” he said.

A few days before Christmas, Root experienced firsthand the risks of living without fire protection when his home burned to the ground. He was aware of where his home was in relation to the fire protection areas and he had several smoke detectors and fire extinguishers around the house. But with no one there, they did little good.

“I wasn’t angry,” he said. “A lot of people get extremely angry, but personally I would not want anyone to go in there knowing I was safe outside.”

Root plans to start rebuilding his home in the spring.

Tempers flare

Anger has been the most common emotion directed at Steese volunteers since the story of Callaway’s fire spread. Flynn said the station has been receiving nasty calls and e-mails from people as far away as Wisconsin.

That incident was problematic for several reasons, he says. The first calls about the fire came in from people on cell phones who didn’t know the exact address of the house on the Steese Highway. If the owner had called and told firefighters his address, they would have known it was outside their range and they never would have gone to the scene.

“Border calls are very difficult,” Flynn said. “The last thing you want to say is ‘No, you’re not in’ (when) they are.”

Morale has been low at the station in the past few days as the volunteers wait for the situation to cool.

“We’re not the ones who set it up this way,” Flynn said. “It’s up to the people if they want borough-wide protection.”

Contact staff writer Chris Freiberg at 459-7545.


  
fergustrap
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Re: Ace Callaway's house burned down ( 02:04:41 WedFeb 13 2008 )

Sorry for you, Dont give up Ace ,


Andy from Quebec

  
sitka23
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Re: Ace Callaway's house burned down ( 02:26:40 SatApr 28 2012 )

I'm a writer out of Sitka working on an article about the Callaway fire (and fire service in Fairbanks more generally). I know Ace has left town but I'm really hopeful to connect with him to hear his story. Of course, I certainly understand if that's something for which he has no interest or inclination. But if anyone happens to know how to get in touch with him I'd be hugely appreciative and I think it will add to a compelling aspect to this story about fire service in Fairbanks. My email is jonathan.s.kt@gmail.com

Thanks, and sorry to disrupt the postings here.

-Jonathan

  
Jim_Alaska
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Re: Ace Callaway's house burned down ( 03:59:39 SatApr 28 2012 )

Jonathan, the post you pulled up is a very old one, it is dated 2008, so it's ancient history. If anyone here knows how to contact Ace I am sure they will pipe up, but I wouldn't hold my breath since this story is so old.



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1SG
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Re: Ace Callaway's house burned down ( 08:00:14 SunMar 17 2013 )

Believe ACE is in Colorado, will try to contact him and give him your info..

  

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