More than 30 people were displaced from the fire that ripped through the Anchorage Sands apartment complex late Monday afternoon. Nineteen of those victims spent the night at the Spenard Recreation center, where they continue to receive care and support from the American Red Cross of Alaska.
Red Cross officials say Monday night’s fire is the fifth fire they have responded to this year. On Tuesday, they urged the public to take necessary precautions to prevent another blaze.
Laura Spano, spokesperson for the Red Cross of Alaska, says the most important way to prevent a fire is being aware of what's going on in your home.
"If you're cooking, (keep) a close eye on it. Keeping children, pets away from your kitchen. Watching your wood stove and making sure that there isn't anything flammable near your wood stove," Spano suggested.
Along with a place to stay, the Red Cross is providing clothes, food and medication to the evacuated residents.
Officials say several of the families have lost everything, but one man, Josh Xayasengchene, said Tuesday that he and his son almost lost their lives when he was sleeping at home with his 4-year-old son.
"He saved my life, he woke me up", says Xayasengchene, pointing to his son T.J. He said the two of them barely made it out of the house in time.
Like Xayasengchene, many of the families residing in the complex have lost everything. Although the cause of the fire is still under investigation, officials estimate the total value of the damage at $500,000.