A fire at an apartment complex in the Russian Jack area of Anchorage Saturday night displaced at least 20 people, including a dozen who stayed overnight at a shelter, according to the American Red Cross of Alaska.
The entire building on Reka Drive, with 24 units, was affected by smoke or water damage, with a much smaller number of units burned, said Cari Dighton, a spokeswoman with the humanitarian group.
At about 9 p.m. on Saturday, emergency responders announced they were closing traffic in the area, at the 4600 block of Reka west of Russian Jack Park, as multiple vehicles responded.
No injuries were reported. "Everyone was able to get out safely," Dighton said.
The number of displaced people was so large that the Red Cross' emergency response vehicle that arrived on scene to provide immediate shelter didn't have space for everyone, Dighton said.
But a nearby resident opened their home as the Red Cross prepared an overnight shelter at the Fairview Recreation Center.
The neighbor, who was unaffected by the fire, offered water, restroom facilities and a place out of the rain.
"They even put sign on their door, saying I've gone to bed, but please feel free to use the restroom," said Dighton, who would not name the neighbor.
The shelter at the recreation center will stay open as needed.
Several Red Cross volunteers stayed through the night Saturday, providing blankets, cots and food, the Red Cross said. Also providing emotional support on Sunday morning were two canine teams from National Crisis Response Canines, Red Cross disaster mental health volunteers, volunteer interpreters and two chaplains from the Alaska Police and Fire Chaplains' Ministries.
"The fire department is working with the apartment manager to figure out when folks can get back into their places," Dighton said.
The Red Cross office in Anchorage will open to help people with case assistance and long-term recovery plans starting at 10 a.m. tomorrow, at 235 E. Eighth Ave, Suite 200.