Family of 9 forced from home after fatal Fairview fire
A day after a blaze which left three people dead in Fairview, neighbors are still coming to terms with the tragic loss – as well as the damage to their own homes from the fast-moving fire.
Sandra and Mike Lapp offered KTVA a tour of their home, at 1121 E. 17th Avenue. More than two dozen Anchorage Fire Department units responded to the adjacent home early Friday morning, finding the bodies of a family of three – including a boy in Fairview Elementary School’s kindergarten class – as they brought the flames under control.
Sandra said her boys, ages 9 and 5, played with the two children killed in the fire. Nine members of the Lapp family lived in their adjacent home until Friday.
“My husband was able to get out -- he ran out of the house, got the shoes, grabbed the kids," Sandra said. "My grandma who is elderly lives here; she lives downstairs, so she can’t walk much and she was able to get out. My brother, my mom, everyone was able to get out.”
A spark from the fatal fire ignited insulation in the Lapps’ attic, leading to a flare-up KTVA covered live Friday afternoon. Although fire crews were able to cut into the roof and extinguish the fire in about 10 minutes, their efforts left 11 inches of water in the Lapps’ crawlspace – and their mattress, furniture and clothes soaked.
The Lapps returned Saturday to recover what heirlooms they could, like pictures and baby clothes.
"We were talking about all the things we might have lost -- like we don’t know what the extent of the damages from the fire or what we could lose -- and my oldest son, he's 9, he said, 'At least we have each other,'” Sandra said. "It’s just so sad what happened to them. It’s just really sad."
Although insurance is covering most of the damage, the family will be displaced from the home for at least six months. The Red Cross of Alaska has been assisting a total of 17 people since Friday morning.
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