Witness recounts Saturday fire in Midtown
Firefighters battled a two-alarm fire at a hotel under construction on C Street early Saturday morning.
Anchorage Fire Department Capt. Jay Bird said crews arrived shortly after 5 a.m. to find a large fire centered on the third floor of the building located between International Airport and Tudor roads.
"We initially called it a defensive fire," Bird said, "which means we extinguished it from [the] exterior. It would have been very unsafe for us to try to enter the structure."
For that reason, Bird said, they couldn't search to see if anyone was inside. The building was still under construction and was not legally occupied.
The fire was so intense, heat from the flames shattered windows in the Motel 6 across the parking lot from the burning building. Jeanie Greene and her husband Dennis were staying at the motel, which was evacuated for a brief period of time while the fire raged on.
Greene said she feared for her life.
"The scary part was that it was so very, very, very huge and close," she said. "There were flames going up, the biggest fire I've ever seen in my life, and explosions!"
Greene said she and her husband threw their belongings out their first-floor window and retreated to their car with their dog. They returned to their room about an hour later when they were told it was all clear.
Firefighters expected to be on scene throughout the day, making sure the flames are extinguished. Ash and debris could be found across midtown Anchorage later that afternoon as far as a mile away near the Loussac Library.
The cause of the blaze is unknown and still under investigation. According to AFD Capt. Bird, one firefighter was transported to the hospital for heat exhaustion, but was later treated and released.
Lauren Maxwell, Dave Leval, Nick Swann and Elizabeth Roman contributed to this report.