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Crime & Courts

Man faces arson charges in fire at Anchorage auto shop

  • Author: Chris Klint
  • Updated: September 30, 2016
  • Published January 27, 2016

A suspicious fire at an Anchorage automotive repair shop earlier this month has led to a man's arrest in connection with the blaze.

According to Anchorage Fire Department spokesman John See, police and fire investigators arrested 27-year-old Paul Michael Emerson on charges of burglary and arson Tuesday evening.

Fire crews responded to the shop that burned, on the 800 block of West International Airport Road near Arctic Boulevard, at about 2 a.m. Jan. 15.

"Upon arrival at 2:03 a.m., the Engine 5 crew reported a heavy volume of fire and smoke issuing from the corner of the structure and an attached steel-framed outbuilding," fire officials wrote. "The fire had fully engulfed the steel outbuilding and had burned into the main structure. Several vehicles were on fire adjacent to the structure(s) as well as a number of vehicles located inside both the steel structure and the main structure."

See said firefighters didn't have any indication that the shop was occupied at the time of the fire, or of any injuries being reported. Firefighters didn't have a formal name for the business Wednesday.

"There was an (Anchorage Police Department) officer who confirmed that we had a working fire before our arrival," See said. "They initially detained the suspect the evening of the fire."

See declined to discuss any specific evidence, beyond witness reports at the scene, that linked Emerson to the blaze.

"Some eyewitness accounts of an individual in the vicinity of the fire led officials to question (Emerson)," See said.

Emerson was taken to the Anchorage jail, where he is set to be arraigned at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Anyone with information about the fire is asked to call AFD's Arson Hotline at 907-267-5060 or the department's fire investigator at 907-267-4962.

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