Investigation of Anchorage Apartment Fire Points to Arson, Woman Charged

Photo by Daysha Eaton, KSKA – Anchorage

An arrest has been made in connection with the fire that burned a midtown Anchorage apartment building last week.

Late Friday Anchorage Fire Department Officials announced that Jenae Collins had been arrested and charged in connection with the big midtown Anchorage Apartment fire on Jan. 3. Al Tamagni is a spokesperson for the Anchorage Fire Department. He says they believe it was arson.

“As a result of the investigation and interviews with residents the fire was classified as arson. Jenae Collins, age 41, of Anchorage was arrested and charged with arson in the first degree and reckless endangerment. She was arraigned over the weekend, but the investigation continues,” Tamagni said.

Tamagni says Collins was a resident of the 24-unit apartment building, which was destroyed by fire Thursday morning. Charging documents say Collins lit an article of clothing on fire in the apartment, then took it out onto a balcony and put it in a trash can with cardboard. The fire then spread to the attic space, burning the south face of the building and the entire roof. Two residents were transported to the hospital and two police officers suffered smoke inhalation injuries. The investigation is ongoing. A pre-indictment hearing for Collins is set for Tuesday.

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Daysha Eaton, KMXT - Kodiak
Daysha Eaton is a contributor with the Alaska Public Radio Network. Daysha Eaton holds a B.A. from Evergreen State College, and a M.A. from the University of Southern California. Daysha got her start in radio at Seattle public radio stations, KPLU and KUOW. Before coming to KBBI, she was the News Director at KYUK in Bethel. She has also worked as the Southcentral Reporter for KSKA in Anchorage. Daysha's work has appeared on NPR's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered", PRI's "The World" and "National Native News". She's happy to take assignments, and to get news tips, which are best sent via email. Daysha became a journalist because she believes in the power of storytelling. Stories connect us and they help us make sense of our world. They shed light on injustice and they comfort us in troubled times. She got into public broadcasting because it seems to fulfill the intention of the 4th Estate and to most effectively apply the freedom of the press granted to us through the Constitution. She feels that public radio has a special way of moving people emotionally through sound, taking them to remote places, introducing them to people they would not otherwise meet and compelling them to think about issues they might ordinarily overlook.