Firefighters respond to call of multiple explosions at homeless camp

The Anchorage Fire Department responded to a fire at a homeless camp in Anchorage's Chester Creek greenbelt early Tuesday morning in which multiple propane explosions set the camp and surrounding trees ablaze.

A call came in regarding the incident at roughly 12:50 a.m., AFD investigator Brian Balega said.

Multiple explosions were heard at the site, which Balega described as a 20-by-20-foot homeless camp built in a wooded area on an elevated platform roughly 10 feet from the Salvation Army's McKinnell House, an emergency shelter on A Street.

When firefighters arrived, they found a "heavy fire" burning in a 10-by-10-foot area. Spruce, alder and the contents of the homeless camp were all ablaze, Balega said.

A camp stove appeared to have exploded, Balega said. In addition, there was "evidence of multiple propane explosions," Balega said.

It was unclear what circumstances started the fire; whether the camp stove malfunctioned or propane was being stored too close to the stove, Balega said.

No injuries were reported to the Anchorage Fire Department, Balega said.

Laurel Andrews

Laurel Andrews was a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News, Alaska Dispatch News and Alaska Dispatch. She left the ADN in October 2018.