Last updated at 5:40 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 10


Smoke was visible throughout much of downtown Anchorage late Friday morning as the Anchorage Fire Department responded to a structure fire in the Fairview neighborhood.


Crews responded to the fire, located in a residential area near 14th Avenue and Karluk Street, at around 10 a.m. Surrounding buildings were evacuated as firefighters fought the blaze throughout the afternoon.


“I just smelled smoke and heard sirens, and then I opened the door and saw smoke billowing from everywhere,” said neighbor Cheryl Isgrigg.


Officials at the scene originally thought the structure was a home, but later discovered it appeared to be a home attached to an empty building neighbors refer to as the warehouse.


“Basically, it’s a flophouse,” said Willy Rowley, who lives in a studio apartment on the property.


The home’s occupants could vary from two to 12 people depending on the day, according to Rowley.


“I know there was a lot of people in there that didn’t know each other and didn’t know how many other people were in there. When we went in there to clear the residence it was in disarray,” Anchorage police Sgt. C. Evans said.


One of the men inside the house had an outstanding warrant and was taken away in handcuffs, according to Evans.


Anchorage police Capt. Bill Miller said several stolen vehicles have been discovered at the location in recent weeks.


No injuries have been reported at the scene and the structure was a “total loss,” according to AFD Chief Dennis LeBlanc. He estimated between 13 to 15 crews had responded to the scene. No cause has been determined.


The Fairview Recreation Center was used to provide warm housing Friday afternoon as officials with the Red Cross worked to find lodging. Ten people were given blankets, food and financial assistance towards lodging, according to Lisa Miller with the Red Cross.


Lauren Maxwell and Jason Sear contributed reporting. 


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