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Fire leaves eight families homeless

By Heather Hintze 7:13 PM January 14, 2014

Tenants showed up to the complex to try to retrieve belongings

ANCHORAGE - Tenants of the Anchorage Sands Apartments showed up Tuesday morning to get a look at the damage from the blaze that ripped through the night before.

Lany Somvilaysack hoped to get into her mother’s apartment to get some medication for her diabetes.

“It’s hard because everything is in there that they need, so it’s kind of like starting over again,” Somvilaysack said. ”Hopefully she can get most of her belongings in there that she needs.”

A crew from Taylored Restoration put up a fence around the building to prevent people from trying to get in.

The Anchorage Fire Department said the fire tore through at least eight of the 16 units in the building. The structural damage was so bad investigators weren’t able to get in Tuesday to start the investigation into the cause.

Damage to the apartment building has been estimated at about $500,000, according to a statement from Fire Chief Al Tamagni.

Somvilaysack said her mom is fortunate to have family in Anchorage to take her in. She’s thankful everyone made it out of the fire unharmed.

“It could have been a lot worse,” she said. “Everybody is safe, that’s all that matters. Materialistic stuff, you can replace that.”

For those who didn’t have anywhere to go, the Red Cross opened a shelter at the Spenard Recreation Center.

Volunteers tried to make the transition to the shelter as easy as possible for the 19 people who stayed there Monday night.

“Especially for the children,” said Laura Spano, Red Cross communications officer. “There were a lot of children that were involved in this fire, so we want to make sure they’re feeling safe, that they’re not scared. We’re working with the parents and the families to easily transition them into something new and keep them comfortable and offer them that shoulder to lean on.”

The shelter will be open again Tuesday night.

The Anchorage School District donated new backpacks and shoes to the kids. A number of local businesses also donated food.

“Red Cross can’t do it alone,” Spano said. “We often times depend on our community partners and people reaching out to us for support.”

The best way to help the families in need it to donate money so the Red Cross can buy them exactly what they need to start over. Click here for information on how you can help.

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