At least three households have been displaced following a Saturday afternoon structure fire that badly damaged a downtown Ketchikan apartment building. Officials said they believed the building’s residents had escaped the blaze next to Ketchikan’s courthouse.
Ketchikan Fire Marshal Gretchen O’Sullivan says the call came in shortly after 3:30 p.m. She says the fire department dispatched engines and an ambulance.
“When they came on scene, they reported a fully involved structure fire. When I got here, fire was burning out the top floor,” she said shortly before 5 p.m. “Everybody has been reportedly out of the building.”
Crews from the North Tongass and South Tongass Fire Departments joined the effort as well.
O’Sullivan said the three-story building was thought to contain at least three apartments. She said she believed the structure would be left uninhabitable.
Cindy Castanon says she was helping her daughter move out of the building when the fire broke out.
“I was in the kitchen, and I smelled smoke, and I heard the breaker pop, so I went into where the breaker was, and I heard the glass pop,” she said.
Her daughter Jennifer Neumeister says she was returning from her car when she saw fire coming from a window.
She says she ran upstairs, and she and her mom grabbed her four-year-old daughter and got out as quickly as they could.
“Thank God my family was there to help get her out,” Neumeister said.
Fire crews were still mopping up as of 5 p.m Saturday.
O’Sullivan said the department had been in touch with the Red Cross to help the displaced families find a place to stay. She said the cause of the blaze was under investigation.