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Firefighters respond to East Anchorage condo blaze

Richard Mauer
Battalion chief Mike Crotty with the Anchorage Fire Department asks resident Sunny Kirkland about medication they should retrieve from her condo. A fire burned the condo on the top floor at 4630 Reka Drive two floors above Kirkland's on Saturday, July 6, 2013. Sharon Kalnoski, Kirkland's caregiver sits on the curb between them. 130606
Bob Hallinen
Firefighters work a fire in an apartment building on Reka Drive, near Pine Street, Saturday, July 6, 2013.
Bob Hallinen
Anchorage Fire Fighters clear debris from a condo fire on the top floor at 4630 Reka Drive on Saturday, July 6, 2013. 130606
Bob Hallinen

The Anchorage Fire Department responded to a third-floor apartment fire in East Anchorage Saturday evening.

There were no injuries from the fire in Building C at 4630 Reka Drive, though some residents were displaced. The building is part of Manorhouse Condominiums.

One of the battalion chiefs on location, Mike Crotty, said at 8:30 p.m. that firefighters were still working to extinguish remnants of the blaze in the roof of the building. He said the fire appeared to be confined to one apartment. The cause of the blaze wasn't yet determined, Crotty said.

Fire Department dispatcher Lori Zaumseil said several residents reported the fire at 7:53 p.m. Four minutes later, the first fire truck rolled up, Engine 3 from the nearby Airport Heights fire station, Zaumseil said.

In all, 11 fire department vehicles responded, with about 22 personnel, including an ambulance and crew who set up a stretcher that wasn't needed. Anchorage police were also on scene to handle traffic and bystanders.

The fire was declared controlled at 8:12 p.m., though isolated spots continued to smolder, Zaumseil said.

A resident forced from his third-floor apartment near the one that burned, David Willis, said there had been a fire in the same building several months ago.

"The fire alarms didn't go off this time, though," Willis said. He was alerted to evacuate by neighbors, he said.

"We're just recovering from the other one," he said. "They were just getting the exterior done and they were still working on the interior stuff."

Willis complained about the disruption to his life caused by fires in other peoples' apartments.

"I live alone with a cat. I have a lot of personal things. It's my home -- it's where I live," Willis said. "Sometimes the smoke and water damage is worse than the eff-ing fire."

Fire officials asked residents if they knew the person or persons who lived in the apartment that burned. Dispatcher Zaumseil said the occupant didn't appear to be home at the time. She didn't know the occupant's name, she said.

In her pajamas on a folding camp chair with her four-wheel walker, Sunny Kirkland said she lived two floors directly below the apartment that burned. She evacuated by walking out of her apartment to the parking lot outside.

"My flower bed was on fire," she said, apparently from embers that fell from the deck above.

With the fire all but out, a fireman with an ax offered to pick up some important things from her apartment. Kirkland give him her keys and told him what she needed for the night.

Zaumseil said the Red Cross was expected to help the displaced residents.


By RICHARD MAUER
rmauer@adn.com