ANCHORAGE - The Anchorage Fire Department said it’s not sure how many people were living in the Midtown apartment building that burned on Thursday morning. They did say all 24 units were occupied. Many of those who fled their apartments were being temporarily sheltered at a nearby church with little more than the clothes on their back.
“Pretty much everybody was trying to just get out of there,” said Habib Azizi, who fled his first floor apartment when the smoke alarm started ringing. “At a moment like that you don’t think about anything but just getting out.”
Don Powell is another resident who made it out.
“Everything in our apartment I know is gone, because the windows blew in and the fire was coming in the windows when I was coming out the door.”
Powell managed to escape with his pet bird but said his fish were not so lucky.
All in all, firefighters found four animals that died in the blaze, but managed to rescue several others. Some of those animals, both cats and dogs, were taken to Anchorage Animal Care and Control to be looked after while their owners consider where they will live.
For now, some residents are calling the Spenard Recreation Center home. The Red Cross has set up a temporary shelter there and the Salvation Army is providing meals. The Midtown Walmart Store, just blocks from the fire scene, is also helping victims with donations.
A Red Cross spokesperson said they plan to interview fire victims to see what they have and what they need, including long-term housing. She said the best way for the public to help is to donate to the Red Cross on line. The address is Alaska.redcross.org.