Child among 3 dead in Anchorage townhouse fire

Three people, including at least one child, died in a townhouse fire that displaced more than a dozen people in the Fairview neighborhood early Friday.

One of the victims was a boy who attended kindergarten at Fairview Elementary School, an Anchorage School District spokeswoman said.

The district brought in a counselor Friday to help teachers and other staff, spokeswoman Catherine Esary said. Friday was a professional development day, so there was no class.

A crisis team will be at the school Monday to help students and staff, she said.

A group of teachers from the school came to the townhouse on the 1100 block of East 17th Avenue on Friday morning to see if they could help.

Little additional information was immediately available about other victims, or about the cause of the fire, which caused smoke damage in three other townhouse units.

Two volunteers from the Alaska chapter of the American Red Cross got to the fire at 2 a.m. and met with five families in a nearby senior center, according to Lisa Miller, a spokeswoman for the organization.


The organization is providing financial assistance, comfort kits and hotel information for 17 residents, Miller said. The Red Cross will continue to work with the residents as they move through the recovery process, she said.

Calls started coming in about the fire just before 1:30 a.m. Friday, fire marshal Cleo Hill said.

A dozen engines and other units responded immediately to "heavy fire" coming out of the townhouse on both floors, Hill said. A battalion chief called in a second alarm to protect adjacent units.

A total of 25 units responded to the fire, she said.

More than a dozen utility and fire trucks still lined the street late Friday morning. Water from fire hoses had left the street icy.

Yellow insulation was draped over the front porch. The front of the townhouse was mostly charred black.

Hill said the firewall separating the townhouses appeared to stop the fire from spreading, but there was smoke damage to the neighboring units. City property records show the townhouse was built in 1977.

Some embers later got around the firewall into the attic of an adjacent unit, Hill said. Fire investigators in the building caught the spread just after noon after noticing blown-in insulation was smoldering.

A wide window on the second floor was completely gone. A charred dresser was visible inside against one wall.

Terry Carmack pulled up to the scene look for his ex-wife's kitten, Trouble. He said he got a call at 3 a.m. about the fire.

Carmack said the people who lived in the house that burned down were quiet and kept to themselves.

The fire is Anchorage's deadliest since an early-morning fire in February 2017 at the Royal Suite Apartments in Spenard killed three people and injured or displaced dozens more.

Zaz Hollander

Zaz Hollander is a veteran journalist based in the Mat-Su and is currently an ADN local news editor and reporter. She covers breaking news, the Mat-Su region, aviation and general assignments. Contact her at

Devin Kelly

Devin Kelly was an ADN staff reporter.