3 people have died in a fire at an AVCP Regional Housing Authority building
BETHEL, Alaska (KYUK) - Three people died early this morning in a fire at a low-income apartment complex in Bethel. That’s according to Bethel Fire Chief Daron Solesbee.
“There were reports of people who were entrapped. We were not successful getting anybody out,” said Solesbee.
Solesbee said he could not publicly identify the victims. He also said an additional two people were taken to the hospital. He said he could not comment on their current condition.
The fire took place at an Association of Village Council Presidents Regional Housing Authority apartment complex at 409 Ptarmigan.
Chief Daron Solesbee said the fire smoldered until late Friday morning. He said it destroyed two of the building’s six units. The three people who died in the fire were in one unit, and the second unit that burned was unoccupied, Solesbee said.
“We’re trying to overhaul it right now and find all the hidden fires. So there’s a lot of cracks and stuff in the walls and up in the ceiling and that kind of stuff. And we have some floor collapse and roof collapse issues,” said Solesbee.
He says he and his staff responded to the fire at 4 a.m. with several fire trucks and ambulances.
The president and CEO of AVCP Regional Housing Authority says the apartment complex is known as the Bethel Low Rent Units. He said that the building where the fire occurred is likely at least 3 decades old, and that the apartment complex contains 31 units overall.
Fire marshals from Anchorage are in Bethel investigating the cause of the fire and expect to have more details later this evening or tomorrow.
The Bethel Fire Department is understaffed right now, and Solesbee said firefighters worked hard to put out the rest of the fire.
Solesbee asked the public to be careful when driving near the apartment complex since there are lots of people and parked cars at the scene.
The National Fire Prevention Association, has found a link between low-income housing and fires, saying those who live in lower income areas have higher odds of experiencing fire, and injuries caused by fire.
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