A campfire at a homeless camp in Midtown Anchorage spread to a nearby camper Thursday morning before responders could put it out, an official from the Anchorage Fire Department said.
No one was injured in the blaze and firefighters extinguished the flames within about 10 minutes, said Assistant Chief Alex Boyd. The charred frame of the trailer stood near the center of the camp Thursday afternoon, surrounded by tents, vehicles and campers where people are living.
The blaze at Cuddy Family Midtown Park is one of numerous fires that have drawn response from firefighters at camps throughout the city this winter as unsheltered people try to keep warm. The fire department is responding to one or two fires at camps each day on average, Boyd said.
A woman died last month when a makeshift shelter caught fire near Bancroft Park. A small heat source near where she was sleeping inside the tent spread and started the fire, officials said.
No other injuries have been reported during the fire responses in recent months, Boyd said.
An estimated hundreds of people have continued to camp in outdoor spaces around Anchorage and there are limited indoor winter shelter options. People living in tents or makeshift dwellings often turn to fires or propane heaters as their source of warmth amid frigid temperatures and snowfall.
Thursday’s fire was a reminder that it’s important to make sure combustibles and other items are kept far enough away from fire sources so the flames don’t spread, Boyd said.