At least 3 residents displaced by fast-spreading fire in East Anchorage neighborhood

A fire in an East Anchorage neighborhood Thursday afternoon spread quickly from one duplex to another before firefighters brought it under control.

No one was inside when the fires began, Anchorage Fire Department officials say. At least three people were displaced but no injuries were reported.

Investigators believe the fire may have been caused by improperly discarded smoking materials, a department spokesman said, but the investigation continues.

Just before 1:40 p.m., passersby reported flames pouring out of a duplex in the Scenic Foothills neighborhood on the 8000 block of Northwind Avenue, according to Anchorage Fire Department Assistant Chief Alex Boyd.

The fire spread from that building to the next duplex, which was vacant and undergoing renovations, Boyd said. The residential gas meter became involved and allowed the fire to quickly extend into the roof and second floor of the vacant building.

“A residential gas line melted below the meter during the fire causing challenges for firefighters and delaying fire control,” he said in an email Friday, adding that Enstar Gas crews helped with suppression efforts by digging up the line in front of the building.

The fire department responded with 27 units and had the fire under control around 2:47 p.m. Thursday.

Flames charred the side of one building, and the roof appeared to have collapsed. Boyd said both buildings have significant damage.