• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 2s

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.

Latest Stories

  • News

    Alaska Native veterans give input for national Native American memorial

    by Megan Edge on Oct 21, 21:25

    George Bennett Sr. isn’t ashamed to be Alaska Native or a U.S. veteran. Nearly 50 years after he left Vietnam, he’s proud to be both; it’s who he is. It hasn’t always been that way though — he said it took him about 30 years to find a bit of personal peace. Wearing a Vietnam […]

  • Weather

    State, municipal plows stay busy after first snowfall of the season

    by Eric Ruble on Oct 21, 21:07

    The first measurable snowfall Friday created a mess on many Southcentral roads. By the evening, most major streets were cleared of snow. However, many side streets had not yet seen a plow. Both the Alaska Department of Transportation and the street maintenance division of the Anchorage municipality plow the busiest thoroughfares first. For DOT, prioritizing […]

  • News

    AFN: A battleground for Alaska’s political candidates

    by Liz Raines on Oct 21, 20:55

    This year’s Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) convention is the place to be for anyone running for public office. It’s an opportunity to get their name out among thousands of Alaska Native people from across the state, and ask for their vote — a powerful vote. Next month’s election is front and center at the annual […]

  • News

    Local homeless shelters were full before snow fell, now overflowing

    by Lauren Maxwell on Oct 21, 19:59

    While some welcomed the first measurable snowfall Friday, for others winter weather is putting pressure on an already strained housing situation in Anchorage. Staff at local homeless shelters say their facilities have been overflowing for weeks. Lisa Caldeira, program manager at the Brother Francis Shelter, said there was no room even before the snow fell. […]

  • Lifestyle

    Anchorage students enjoy a day off with fresh powder

    by Shannon Ballard on Oct 21, 19:09

    What’s better than the first significant snowfall? When it happens on a day that students in the Anchorage School District already have off. Friday was an in-service day, so instead of racing to class, best friends Oceana Gamel Howes, Ava Evans, and Emily Robinson spent the morning speeding down the popular sledding hill at Service […]

  • News

    Alaska unemployment rate inches up to 6.9 percent last month

    by Associated Press on Oct 21, 18:55

    Alaska’s unemployment rate inched up to 6.9 percent in September, hitting its highest level since the summer of 2014. The state labor department says last month’s preliminary seasonally adjusted rate was up from 6.8 percent in August and 6.5 percent in September 2015. The national unemployment rate stood at 5 percent last month. Alaska’s rate […]

  • News

    First snow keeps Anchorage tire shops busy with winter changeover

    by Heather Hintze on Oct 21, 16:21

    The first sign of winter brought in big business for Johnson’s Tire Service when many people awoke to snow on Friday morning and realized they still had summer tires on their vehicles. “It’s a little insane,” said Johnson’s manager Michael Hagler. “It’s a whole ‘nother monster to work in a tire shop in changeover season.” […]

  • DJ Spencer Lee’s Holiday Pajama Jam: A party for the whole family

    by Daybreak Staff on Oct 21, 15:41

    Looking trip the light fantastic with the whole family — in your pajamas? DJ Spencer Lee has you covered with his Holiday Pajama Jam. The event is part of his popular series of Baby Loves Disco events and he will be joined by Victamone. Holiday Pajama Jam Sunday, December 4 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Williwaw […]