Anchorage firefighters extinguish fire at body shop, warn of high fire risk in city

Anchorage firefighters battle a fire that started in an auto body shop near the intersection of Gambell Street and 15th Avenue on Friday, May 27, 2022. (Lex Treinen/Alaska Public Media)

A fire that broke out at an Anchorage body shop on Friday afternoon shut down a stretch of Gambell Street and 15th Avenue for hours, officials said.

The fire started just after 4 p.m. when an auto shop vehicle caught fire, Anchorage Fire Department Deputy Chief Alex Boyd said. He said one person had been taken to hospital with injuries. He had no further details on the extent of the injuries.

Traffic was blocked at the intersection of 15th Avenue and Gambell Street shortly after the fire started, Boyd said.

“We had the building heavily involved in the fire,” he said. “Crews were able to initially extinguish the majority of the fire and at this time they are only clearing and extinguishing hidden fire areas.”

a smoky shot of firefighters and a fire truck on a roadway
(Lex Treinen/Alaska Public Media)

Boyd said around 4:30 p.m. he expected roads to be closed for “probably a few more hours” as firefighters wrapped up their response. Southbound Gambell Street at 15th and eastbound 15th between Ingra and Gambell have been closed, police said.

Boyd said the fire had not spread to other buildings in the area, but pointed to the high fire risk in the city.

“We’re lucky it’s not in a heavily forested area,” he said. “The weather has been very kind to us this weekend for people who love the outdoors. But for the risk of fire, the weather is not doing us any favors.

The National Weather Service placed Anchorage under a red flag until 10 p.m. Friday, warning that “rapid ignition, growth and spread of fires are possible” in the city’s hot, dry and windy conditions. Anchorage also remains under a burning ban until further notice. Violating a burning ban is now an offence.

During the auto shop fire, Boyd said there were 24 response vehicles at the scene, including trucks and ambulances.

“This was a second alarm fire, which means sort of double our normal fire response,” he said.

Firefighters wore masks and carried oxygen tanks due to the noxious fumes from the blaze, which Boyd said was standard for structural fires.

RELATED: Alaska forestry officials warn of dangerous fire conditions as holiday weekend approaches

thick smoke surrounds a firefighter and a fire truck
(Lex Treinen/Alaska Public Media)
thick smoke with barely visible firefighter and truck
(Lex Treinen/Alaska Public Media)
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