The Anchorage Fire Department is warning residents that with the holiday season, comes a longer list of fire hazards, and to encourage everyone to take extra caution, one man who recently lost his home and his wife to a blaze in Midtown shared his story.
“She was a loving grandmother, loving mother, she was the best wife any man can ask for,” said 40-year-old Marco Flores.
On December 4th, a blaze engulfed a duplex on Homestead Court. Flores and his 22-year-old son, and his 3-year-old granddaughter had to jump from the second floor of their home to escape the flames.
“The fire was so great that the heat burned all the furniture on the second floor without a flame touching it,” said Flores.
But his wife, Angelica, and his dog Mocha, were trapped on the first floor.
“She was surrounded by fire… in the center it was black, just black, so the fire it looked like it broke out in all the walls. The whole downstairs was surrounded by giant flames. When I saw these flames I had to get in there. My wife's in there, so I started breaking out the front window and I couldn’t get through it. I mean I cracked it, but I could not get through it. And then my neighbor comes out and I said to kick the door,” said Flores. “Finally we kicked it open and the monster of flames just rushed our faces, and we both had to step back. He held me down and told me not to go in.”
Flores lost his home and his high school sweetheart that day.
AFD is investigating the cause of the fire.
According to AFD, there are more fires this time of year, warning residents to be extra cautious with their Christmas trees, lights and candles. AFD asks residents to make sure your Christmas tree is at least three feet away from heat sources, and your tree should be kept in water through its recommended two-week life.
Inspect your holiday lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in insulation, and broken or cracked sockets. Only use lights that have been tested and labeled by a recognized testing laboratory, and do not link more than three light strands to electrical outlets to avoid overloading. It is not recommended to leave your lights burning overnight or while you’re away from home.
Also, never leave lit candles unattended or near your Christmas tree.
“Take that five minutes and look at your lights,” said Captain Rod Harris from the Anchorage Fire Department. “Check that tree. Don’t get complacent.”
And Flores added one other safety check to the list, that he regrets not doing.
“Our fire detectors did not have any batteries in them,” said Flores. “Please check your fire detectors. Don’t make the same mistake we did.”
It's a message Flores said he wants to tell others, to keep loved ones safe this holiday season.
The Flores family had to cancel Angelica’s wake and funeral because they were short on funding. If you would like to contribute to the memorial fund, the family asks that you go to Credit Union 1. The account is under the name, Angelica Flores, #521 098.