A fast-moving fire that gutted a motor home early Thursday left one person dead, according to Anchorage firefighters.

Anchorage Fire Chief Jodie Hettrick said crews responded to the blaze, at the Midtown RV/Camper Park off Fairbanks Street, just after 3:15 a.m.

“When we got on scene it was fully involved,” Hettrick said. “After the fire was extinguished, we identified that there was a victim inside the motor home.”

The victim wasn’t being named Thursday pending notification of family, Hettrick said. Investigators were still trying to determine the origin and cause of the fire.

A resident in the area reported an explosion during the fire, which Hettrick couldn’t confirm. She did say that recreational vehicles are generally vulnerable if they ignite.

“Motor homes, just like trailer houses, they’re fairly fragile when it comes to fire; and unlike a stick-built or concrete-built house, they don’t withstand fire very well at all,” she said. “It’s pretty normal that once a fire starts in those types of structures they go pretty fast.”

Firefighters urge people living in RVs to ensure they have working carbon monoxide and smoke alarms, and take additional time to make sure the vehicles are properly maintained.

“Unfortunately motor homes typically aren’t built to be lived in for long periods of time, so their heating systems – electrical and stuff – sometimes can’t deal with the constant use,” Hettrick said. “So constant maintenance and inspection, and making sure everything is in the shape it needs to be, is always advised.”

Scott Jensen and Rachel McPherron contributed information to this story.

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