‘We couldn’t get to him:’ Family loses boy, 5, in Muldoon fire
Family members are mourning a young boy who lost his life in Friday afternoon’s Muldoon trailer fire.
Ivan Arnariak, who lived with his family in the Glencaren Trailer Court residence, said his 5-year-old grandson William Arnariak died in the fire. Ivan Arnariak and other relatives were conducting home repairs at about 4 p.m. Friday, when he said a small space heater started the fire on the 2200 block of Muldoon Road.
The family had no fire extinguishers, and some ran next door to find some. Others stayed inside and tried to throw water from the kitchen sink on the fire to stop it, to no avail.
William went missing in the confusion, until family members realized he was trapped inside the front bedroom.
"All of the sudden one of my nephews says, ‘Where is the little boy?’” Ivan Arnariak said. "’I think he’s in that room that is on fire.’"
Family members tried repeatedly to get William out of the room.
"Each time they opened that door, flames came out really fast and it got worse," Ivan Arnariak said. "It started smoking really heavy. We had to – you know, all that black smoke came out really fast through the living room, and I couldn’t see the rest of the family members – we had to all get out."
The efforts to save the young boy continued outside.
"My daughter’s boyfriend hit that window really hard trying to get to, seeing if he could get to him but fire started coming out the window," Ivan Arnariak said. "We couldn't get to him."
Ivan Arnariak says he doesn't know if the family will repair the house, but he thinks they won’t.
The Anchorage Fire Department’s operations chief, Jodie Hettrick, said Saturday that no working smoke alarms were found in the home. She urged residents to check their homes and make sure their smoke alarms are functioning in the wake of Friday’s blaze.
“Smoke alarms are not expensive,” Hettrick said. “In almost every case when we have fatalities, smoke alarms make a difference – they make a great Christmas gift to ensure people have them in their home.”
This year is a relatively high one for Anchorage fire fatalities; the city averages two to three per year, Hettrick said, but 2017’s death toll stands at five. The previous fires include a Jan. 24 Spenard blaze in which Jimmy Cates is charged with murdering a woman, as well as the Feb. 15 conflagration which tore through the Royal Suite Apartments, leaving three people dead and dozens of others displaced.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to support the Arnariak family.