Last updated at 6:33 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18
Anchorage Deputy Fire Chief Jodie Hettrick says two people were transported to a hospital after they were rescued from a two-alarm fire in an apartment building Saturday afternoon.
Fire officials were first notified of the fire at 1:01 p.m., according to Hettrick. She said more than 30 units responded to the fire, which started in an apartment building on the 5800 block of Northern Lights Boulevard.
Hettrick said one of the victims was rescued from the apartment where the fire likely originated, and was injured. She did not know the extent of that person’s injuries. Hettrick said another person from elsewhere in the building was transported to a hospital as a precaution.
After the initial rescue and fire attack, fire crews pulled back until the building was declared structurally sound.
“The more heat that’s in the building, the more dangerous the snow and ice become on the roof, and we don’t want that roof to collapse,” Hettrick explained, pointing out smoke from the building and a thick snowpack on the roof. “So until we could get in and check the structural stability of what’s holding the roof up, we kind of put the fire out that we could see, let everything cool down, and then we’ll go back and look for extension.”
She said crews were eventually cleared to go back in and completely put out the fire.
The building holds eight apartments, according to a neighbor. Hettrick said she didn’t know how many people were displaced, or the extent of the damage to the building.
Lisa Miller, a spokeswoman for the American Red Cross of Alaska, said in an email that the agency responded and assisted 15 residents.
“The property manager has provided the displaced individuals with alternative housing,” Miller wrote. “The Red Cross provided blankets, comfort kits and financial assistance to meet immediate needs. We will continue to work with the displaced individuals to assist in the recovery process.”
Hettrick said this and another recent and fatal fire are good reminders to have an emergency evacuation plan ready before a fire, as well as the tools necessary to protect your family. She said that includes working smoke alarms and, for residents living above the ground floor, portable escape ladders in case a primary exit is blocked.
This is a developing story; please check back for updates as they become available.