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2 dead, 5 injured in Alaska apartment fire

Anchorage firefighters grabbed two victims before a partial roof collapse occurred

By Annie Berman
Anchorage Daily News

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Two people died and five others were taken to the hospital after a fire at an East Anchorage fourplex early Saturday, the fire department reported.

A preliminary investigation indicated that the fire was “most likely an accidental fire,” Assistant Anchorage Fire Chief Alex Boyd wrote in an email Saturday evening.

“The investigator has identified the area of fire origin and will be working with other investigators in the coming days to narrow down the ignition source,” he wrote.

Firefighters were called to the 7200 block of East 21st Avenue shortly after 4 a.m., according to an earlier written statement from Boyd. The area is just west of Muldoon Road and between Northern Lights Boulevard and DeBarr Road.

Firefighters found a four-unit apartment building heavily involved in fire, Boyd wrote.

“Crews initiated fire suppression and began search of the involved living units,” Boyd wrote. “Two people were located ... and moved out of the building by rescuers shortly before partial roof collapse occurred.”

One of the people rescued was declared dead at the scene and the other was taken to the hospital, where they later died, he said.

“Five additional people who had escaped from the building were also transported to the hospital; one person was transported with serious injuries in stable condition. Four others were transported for evaluation,” he wrote.

The victims have not been identified.

The fire was brought under control around 4:48 a.m., he wrote.

By Saturday afternoon, several firefighters remained on scene, sifting through the debris and assisting with an investigation into the cause of the fire, which still wasn’t clear.

Neighbors described being awakened early in the morning to sirens, towering flames and multiple emergency responders.

The deaths were the 10th and 11th fire fatalities of the year in Anchorage, and the 17th and 18th statewide, Boyd wrote.

Boyd reminded people to change the batteries in their smoke detectors and test them to be sure that they’re operating properly.

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