Anchorage firefighters put out blaze at auto body shop and warn of high fire danger in the city

two firefighters on a roadway. the air is heavy with smoke
Anchorage firefighters battle a fire that broke out at 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 in an Anchorage auto body shop late Friday afternoon closed a stretch of Gambell Street and 15th Avenue for hours, according to officials.

The fire started just after 4 p.m. when a vehicle in the auto shop caught fire, said Anchorage Fire Department Assistant Chief Alex Boyd. He said one person was taken to the hospital with injuries. He did not have additional details on the extent of the injuries. 

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

“We had the building heavily involved in fire,” he said. “Crews were able to initially extinguish the majority of the fire and right now they’re just working on mopping up and getting hidden areas of fire put out.” 

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

Boyd said at around 4:30 p.m. that he expected the roads to be closed for “probably another couple hours” as firefighters finished their response. Southbound Gambell Street at 15th and eastbound 15th between Ingra and Gambell were closed, said police.

Boyd said the fire did not spread to other buildings in the area, but stressed the high fire danger in the city.

“We’re lucky that this was not in a heavily wooded area,” he said. “The weather has been very kind to us over the weekend for folks who enjoy the outdoors. But for fire risk — the weather is not doing us any favors.”

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

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

“This was a second-alarm fire, meaning kind of double what our normal fire response is,” he said. 

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

RELATED: Alaska forestry officials warn of dangerous fire conditions heading into holiday weekend

heavy smoke surrounds a firefighter and a fire truck
(Lex Treinen/Alaska Public Media)
heavy smoke with a firefighter and truck faintly visible
(Lex Treinen/Alaska Public Media)
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Lex Treinen covers culture, homelessness, politics and corrections for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at ltreinen@alaskapublic.org.