I am writing this story with a lot of personal pain. I wouldn’t even write about this tragedy, but the newspapers and TV stations have never gotten the facts straight.
This isn’t an article that most should read due to the graphic circumstances.
Saturday morning my Grand Nephew, Frank Hunt 26, and his wife Christina 31, were sleeping in due to being up quite late watching videos. They do family things every Friday night with the kids.
Christina had a couple of kids from a previous marriage. Her oldest son was living with his dad out of state.
Frank and Christina had two little boys, Frankie 7 and Ryan 4.
Her 13 year old daughter, Judy, was also still living with them.
The girl’s bedroom, along with the boy’s room, was in the front end of their trailer house. The dinning room and kitchen were near the middle area.
Down the hall there was a bathroom and the master bed room at the end.
At approximately 9:30 AM the smoke alarm went off about the time one of the boys came running into the bedroom to wake Frank and Christina. Their bedroom door had only been open a few inches. The smoke alarm was going off, but not making much noise. Frank had changed the batteries only two week before.
Frank and Christina jumped out of bed. Christina yelled for Frank to go get Judy out of her room.
Judy was screaming for them to get her out of there.
Frank tried to get down the hall but ran into a wall of flames, burning embers, and black smoke. He stumbled into the bathroom and almost fell into the shower tub. The trailer was completely black with smoke almost to the floor.
He finally managed to find and break the bathroom window with his hand, and dive out onto the snow. He ran to the door of the entry way near the front of the trailer and was in the process of kicking down the locked metal door, when a passer by stopped and assisted him.
Once inside, they kicked down the door that went into the front room. They were met by another wall of flames. He received a burn on his shoulder, hands, feet, and his hair was singed.
He was unable to rescue his daughter through the front room.
They ran around the end of the trailer to a window that went into his daughter’s bedroom. The room was filled with fire and smoke, and it was too late.
They then proceeded to the rear of the trailer expecting to find his wife and boys outside. He figured they should be outside by then. When he got to the back of the trailer the master bedroom was fully engulfed in flames. She had not been able to get the little boys out before she was over come by the smoke.
Frank was left standing in the snow with his underwear burned half off. He had heard his family die and was unable to do anything to save them.
I doubt if he will ever recover from this tragedy. His burns will heal, but he never will.
I can only imagine the ten thousand times he will ask himself if he could have done something differently.
I have thought a lot about it, and I would have done the same thing in that circumstance.
The Fire Chief told him he was a walking miracle to have made it out.
We are glad he did, but I don’t think he will understand it for many years to come.
No human should ever have to go through what Frank did. It was as bad as it could get.
The fire had started in the front room, according to the fire inspectors, although they couldn’t figure out just what had started the fire.
Christina had told her dad, in a phone conversation two weeks earlier, that she could smell rubber burning but couldn’t find out where it was coming from. It may have been the electric connections where the lamp was plugged in.
The media has told the story that Frank was uninjured, and was the only survivor due to jumping out the window, leaving his family behind. They made him look like some coward who bailed out and let his family die.
Nothing could be farther from the truth.
He had done what any of us would have done. It is just that the trailer had literally exploded in less than a minute.
He was left without his family and not even clothes on his back.
I understand that there is a fund set up at the Alaska USA Credit Union in Soldotna, Alaska 99669, if anyone would like to contribute.
The family would like to express our deepest gratitude to the man who stopped by and helped Frank. They said that there’s not enough ways to thank him for stepping in and giving a hand when it was needed so desperately. If it wasn’t for him Frank would likely have been killed too.
Frank was born in Red Bluff, California, and grew up in Alaska.
George “Bubba” Hunt