ANCHORAGE,Alaska (KTUU) While firefighters have not publicly released the name of the victim in a fatal fire Friday night, family members tell Channel 2 News, five-year-old William Arnariak did not survive the deadly flames.
"It's still pretty hard for me right now," Socoli Togiak said about the loss of his nephew, who the family nicknamed "Bopsy."
"He was a joyful little kid, he brought joy to the whole family."
Togiak says he and his family were remodeling the bathrooms inside the mobile home at Glencaren Court. He said he was taking a break and heard his cousin yell out a warning about the fire.
"So I quickly ran and tried to look for the fire and the door was closed and I could see the flames from underneath the door. I turned the knob and pushed it a little, slightly opening it and flames just went right to me and so I ran and tried to get water," he said.
Togiak says he went to the neighbors next door to get a fire extinguisher. Togiak said he tried using it and the extinguisher never worked.
Anchorage firefighters said when the initial call came in it was reported somone was trapped inside the home. By the time fire fighters arrived, the flames were in the front part of the home.
"We just assumed he was in there and we tried everything to enter," Togiak said.
The family has created a gofundme account to help cover funeral expenses.
An official cause for the fire has not been released. While Togiak insists he heard a smoke alarm going off, firefighters say they haven't located any working smoke alarms inside the home.
"Talk to your family and friends, elders you have that don't live with you, make sure they know how to get out of the house if there is a fire," Jodie Hettrick,deputy chief of operations with AFD said.
So far this year, there have been five fire related deaths in Anchorage, according to Hettrick.
“Smoke alarms we know do save lives,” Hettrick said, while stressing the importance of having the devices properly installed and working inside homes and businesses.
The Alaska Department of Public safety recommends at least one smoke alarm on every floor including the basement and attic of a home and inside each bedroom.
Click here for tips on choosing, installing and maintaining a smoke alarm.