Anchorage fire displaces six families

Posted: Friday, December 27, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Anchorage fire officials said it would be at least a week, possibly longer, before six families displaced by a fire can return to their apartments.

The two alarm blaze on the top floor of the six-story Knik Arms apartment building in downtown Anchorage early Thursday destroyed one unit and caused smoke and water damage.

No one was injured and firefighters confined the flames to one unit of the 55-unit building as tenants in several other units waited inside, trapped by thick black smoke and the fire's heat.

The fire started around 1:45 a.m. Thursday inside the 50-year-old concrete building at the intersection of L Street and Sixth Avenue.

An extension cord chafed by a couch frame apparently started the blaze, fire investigators said.

Tenants, many of them seniors, poured into the frigid night, some in pajamas. One 85-year-old woman had no shoes. Residents of an apartment building across the street invited the displaced residents to come inside.

Six families are staying in a hotel this week as authorities evaluate the level of damage to apartments on the top floors of the building, said Mike Smith, programs director for the American Red Cross, Southcentral Alaska Chapter.

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