Four Fort Wainwright families displaced after house fire Sunday night

FAIRBANKS, Alaska. (KTVF) On Sunday night at 11:07, a fire broke out in a four-plex housing unit on Fort Wainwright.

A fire broke out in a four-plex housing unit on Fort Wainwright Sunday night. (Sara Tewksbury/KTVF)

Fort Wainwright Fire Department responded within just a few minutes.
“Upon getting there, the house was fully involved in fire. Even the folks that left from the station on the north side of the post could already see the smoke and how bad it was from all the way over here,” said Fire Chief Charles Gibbs of Fort Wainwright Fire Department.

Gibbs says it was an occupant of the unit where the fire originated that heard the smoke detectors going off, evacuated her family and then called 911.

There were 12 children between the four families, and all occupants of the four units escaped the fire without injuries.

One military police officer sustained a minor injury from slipping on ice on scene but has since been treated and released.

Gibbs says the incident commander on scene requested mutual aid, and Fairbanks Fire Department, University Fire Department and Steese Fire Department responded to help.

Gibbs says it took longer than normal to put the fire out. “Just because of the fact of how far it had gotten into the walls and up into the attic space... we did not have the means to access it from inside the house due to safety concerns,” said Gibbs.

They were able to use Fairbanks Fire Department’s platform truck and make access through the roof of the house.

Gibbs says it took about three hours to put the fire out.

Due to firewalls and the construction of the four-plex, the fire was contained to the one unit but there was smoke and water damage to the unit next door. “It did exactly what it was supposed to do. It kept the fire from spreading to the adjacent apartments in the four-plex,” said Gibbs.

The cause of the fire is currently under investigation, and Gibbs says they will probably have a state fire investigator and help determine the cause.

All four families were expected to into new housing on post Monday night.

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