Firefighters rescue man from window in burning Spenard apartment

Zaz Hollander

Anchorage firefighters rescued a man from a multifamily apartment complex in Spenard early Tuesday morning after a smoky fire forced him to take refuge in his bedroom window.

No one was injured in the fire.

Crews said the man was "lucky to be alive" because there were no working smoke detectors in his apartment, Anchorage Fire Department spokesman Al Tamagni said. Crews evacuated the other residents of the building.

The fire displaced six people living in the two-story building in the 2300 block of Jefferson Avenue, according to Laura Spano, spokeswoman for American Red Cross of Alaska. The building's landlord provided places for residents to stay, Spano said.

The resident who reported the fire called 911 at 3:21 a.m. and calmly told dispatchers his apartment was filling with smoke and he was in his bedroom with the door shut, Tamagni said. Dispatchers told the man to stay in the room, located above a garage.

The first of 14 units to arrive at 3:25 a.m. discovered the man leaning out his window and rescued him, he said.

The fire was limited to the man's apartment. Firefighters estimated it did $30,000 in damage.

Crews had the fire under control at 3:39 a.m., dispatch records show.

The first responders told dispatchers they didn't see flames when they got to the address but did see plenty of smoke coming from the roof.

An investigation revealed that a chemical fire log from the fireplace fell out and ignited the carpet and other debris in the apartment, according to a statement from the fire department.

Fire officials urge people to check smoke detectors monthly and to remember that batteries may need to be replaced at least once a year.

The Red Cross has responded to a number of fires in recent days, including one on 4th Avenue that displaced two families and house fires Fairbanks and Tok that displaced a family in each, Spano said.

Reach Zaz Hollander at or 257-4317.