Alaska News

Friday, February 17, 2017

Swelling summer overtime costs lead to Anchorage Fire Department budget overrun

Loose management of the Anchorage Fire Department's time-off calendar, especially in summer, has contributed to more than $1 million in excess overtime costs almost every year for at least the past decade, Fire Chief Denis LeBlanc told an Anchorage Assembly committee Thursday. In an analysis of department budgets stretching back to 2007, LeBlanc and his deputies found that more firefighters, paramedics and engineers request time off in the summer months than any other time of the year. Managers appear to have accepted too many of those requests, LeBlanc said, leading to hundreds of thousands of dollars in extra overtime to cover the open slots.
Alaska Dispatch News

Investigators continue to look into cause of deadly Anchorage apartment fire

Fire investigators continued their investigation Thursday into the cause of the deadly Spenard fire that tore through an apartment complex on Minnesota Drive Wednesday while nearly two dozen people suddenly made homeless tried to sort out their lives at an emergency shelter. Investigators from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives traveled to Alaska from the Lower 48 Thursday at the request of the Anchorage Fire Department, said fire department deputy operations chief Jodie Hettrick. "They are experts at processing large fire incidents," she said. The ATF investigators might come from California, Washington state or Colorado, she said.
Alaska Dispatch News

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Inspections show alarm system had been up to code at fire-destroyed building in Anchorage

City inspection records for the Royal Suite Apartments, the site of a deadly Spenard fire early Wednesday morning, show that fire-code violations in recent years at the property had been addressed and the fire alarm system was up to code. "Historically there have been some problems with their fire alarm that they've taken care of immediately," said Anchorage Fire Marshal Cleo Hill. "They put a new one in a few years ago." Several residents complained that the system has been giving off false alarms recently. The building didn't have lifesaving sprinklers, Hill said, but those are not required.
Alaska Dispatch News

Related: Cat, snake and other pets found alive at Royal Suite Lodge fire

At least a handful of pets were rescued from a large, fatal fire on Minnesota Boulevard Wednesday, Anchorage Fire Department spokeswoman Jodie Hettrick confirmed. She said fire crews found a cat, a few goldfish and a boa constrictor at the Royal Suite Lodge and called the Anchorage Animal Care and Control to assist with their removal and temporary housing. She said other animals may also have been rescued, but she did not have a complete list. Hettrick said AFD was not aware of any animal fatalities, although two people were killed by the early morning blaze. She said in cases like this, pet owners should prioritize their own escape and let firefighters attempt a rescue of their animals.
KTVA-TV CBS 11 Anchorage

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