Fire crews save three people trapped in Parsons Avenue blaze
Nearly two dozen people were displaced after a fire erupted at an apartment complex over the weekend.
"There are a lot of question marks," apartment owner Khamkeo Khamleo said. "I am just surprised the people in the unit where the fire started never called me. If something happens, they are suppose to call me."
Khamleo arrived at his apartment complex located at 4406 Parsons Avenue in Anchorage just after 1 Sunday morning.
"When I got here, firefighters were already here," Khamleo said. "Everyone was out and safe."
It almost didn't end up that way as three people were trapped inside the building when fire crews arrived.
"We had a meeting this morning and said if there's a fire and we have to respond-- that's how we want to do it every time," Captain Nick Davis with the Anchorage Fire Department said. "That's how it should be done every time. Everybody is out and safe. We found three people trapped and with our help they were able to crawl out."
The American Red Cross quickly arrived on the scene to help the nearly two dozen people displaced find somewhere to sleep.
"They, the fire department, had to do a rescue because people couldn't get out the front door," Bruce Whelan from the American Red Cross said. "To help people find a place to stay, we have a new way of doing things."
The new way of finding people shelter, food and clothing actually empowers them.
"We give them a card like a debit card or credit card," Whelan said. "They can use these in hotels and they can get food and clothing. That's what we recommend they do. It's such a jarring thing to be displaced in the middle of the night. We give them the card to use at different hotels around town."
The Red Cross gives people a list of hotels with prices they can stay in using the card.
"We don't put them in the hotels ourselves," Whelan said. "We used to but now we let them decide where to go; that seems to work out a lot better."
The Red Cross also offers blankets and toiletries for anyone wanting them. Usually, the cards have enough on them to last a couple of days.
While many of the residents in the fourplex at 4406 Parsons Avenue have found temporary shelter, the owner of the building is left to decide what to do next.
"I'll be out six months of rent," Khamleo said. "I bought this place in 1999, and from my estimations, new roof, inside work, rewiring the whole thing. In my estimates, I'm looking at $240,000 to $260,000 in repairs."
Khamleo is left with many questions as to why it took his tenants so long to call him.
"So many questions, I'm just so surprised," Khamleo said. "I never had any problems here. Why didn't the people in unit one where it started call me? Why did it take someone in unit four to call? If something happens, they are supposed to call me. Big question marks here."
Khamleo says the fire started in a bedroom in unit one.
"I don't know what could've caused this," Khamleo said. "Fire department thinks it started in boiler room, but as you can see, there is nothing in there. Fire and smoke spread from unit one and went all the way through."
The fire is still under investigation.
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