Monday, June 17, 2013
Mt. View Fire Kills Young Girl, Injures Two, Leaves Two Families Homeless
Fire officials say house was fully engulfed in flames when they arrived
ANCHORAGE--The fire broke out on McPhee and Flower, just feet from Mt. View Elementary, shortly before 9:45 a.m. Wednesday.
Neighbors ran to help.
"We had got here right when the flames started going up," said Ashley Merdan, who lives nearby.
Another neighbor, Rainey Landry, said she is training to be a registered nurse.
"My husband's a paramedic, so we came flying down here," Landry said.
Fire crews and police officers were already on the scene.
"The house was about 75 percent involved," said Anchorage fire Capt. Jeff McDonald. "Heavy fire and smoke showing out of every window or door I saw except one."
At least two people managed to escape the two-family home, where six people and three dogs lived.
"Barely made it out," Landry said. "You could see the black all over the mom. She had run in and tried to get the kid."
Within minutes, the entire house was engulfed in flames.
"It was heavily involved upon arrival," McDonald said. "There was a lot of fire, both floors, almost all the building. I do believe there was some extra fuel. Propane bottles contributing to it, but it was a heavy fire load."
Landry said there was "lots of smoke."
"Lots of black smoke," she said. "It came down so quick. The structure came down in probably three minutes. It happened that quickly."
By 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, less than an hour after police had first reported the blaze, all that remained of the place two families called home were ashes and a blackened frame.
"God bless them," Merdan said.
One of those families lost a little girl.
"I'm praying for that family," Landry said. "God bless them. I'm so sorry for your loss."
Red Cross is helping both families pick up the pieces, but a spokesperson says it does not help with pet assistance.
The other family in the house had three dogs, all of which survived.
"Today's a tough day," McDonald said. "We had two of our brand-new employees--probationary firemen--on this initial attack line. This is their first real working fire and their first fatality fire."