Fire Sweeps Wasilla Assisted Living Home

Firefighters responded to a blaze at an assisted living home near Wasilla early Monday afternoon.

Matanuska Susitna Borough deputy emergency services director Casey Cook says that 20 residents and all staff were safely evacuated as firemen arrived at 2:30 pm. No injuries have been reported.

Fire crews contained the blaze at the Northern Comfort Assisted Living Home within an hour. Cook says the fire affected almost half the building.

“First arriving units gave a size up of about a forty percent involved three story structure with approximately twenty residents inside, so it was not an all clear. During the course of that, the staff that worked there at Assisted Living were able to get all of the folks out without any injuries. A good majority of them were wheelchair bound, and also someone also that was bedridden, so they had to carry that one out in a blanket.”

About a dozen of the residents were in wheel chairs. The home’s staff and residents were outside in zero temperatures. Cook says Valley Mover buses were called in to take them to shelter. Initial reports indicate the fire started on the front porch of the home, although an investigation is ongoing to determine the cause. Cook says most of the fire damage affects a front porch and an upstairs apartment, while other parts of the building incurred smoke and water damage.

“There was an added on balcony on the second and half of the third floor, and that was pretty much demolished by the fire. The actual living structure was sprinklered, and so the sprinkler stopped a lot of fire extending into the actual living structures. So the real damage right now is a little bit to the roof, on the third floor and in an apartment on the third floor and water damage on the second floor and third floors and some smoke damage as well.”

Fifteen fire crews responded to the call, Cook, says, and two ambulances were on scene. The Red Cross and the state’s Adult Protective Services are finding shelter for those displaced by the fire.

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APTI Reporter-Producer Ellen Lockyer started her radio career in the late 1980s, after a stint at bush Alaska weekly newspapers, the Copper Valley Views and the Cordova Times. When the Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound, Valdez Public Radio station KCHU needed a reporter, and Ellen picked up the microphone. Since then, she has literally traveled the length of the state, from Attu to Eagle and from Barrow to Juneau, covering Alaska stories on the ground for the AK show, Alaska News Nightly, the Alaska Morning News and for Anchorage public radio station, KSKA elockyer (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8446 | About Ellen

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