- Associated Press - Friday, January 31, 2014

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - Investigators found a second body Thursday in the rubble of a fire that destroyed a two-story Fairbanks apartment building, leaving about 50 people homeless.

The second body was found late Thursday afternoon, The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported (https://is.gd/OJzwOP ). The first was found Wednesday night. Neither was immediately identified.

Assistant Fire Chief Ernie Misewicz said there is a chance more victims might be found.

“One of the challenges we have with big buildings is knowing who’s coming and who’s going,” he said. “We don’t know who all was there.”

One man was severely burned and several other people were treated for less-serious injuries after the fire early Wednesday. The burned man was rushed to a Seattle hospital’s burn unit.

Firefighters and investigators continued to sift through the debris as they search for a cause.

The building contained about 18 apartments on the second floor, and offices and a secondhand furniture shop on the first.

The fire sprinkler system for the apartments was checked by city fire officials on Tuesday, the newspaper reported, but the building’s owner said Thursday it appears the system did not activate.

Misewicz confirmed that the department had been working with the building’s owner to inspect the system and had declared it functional. Owner Monica Sue Carney said she walked through the building Tuesday with fire officials. She said the building had both a wet and dry sprinkler system with sprinkler heads in each apartment.

Firefighters used ladders to rescue several people from the burning building because they were unable to reach the hallway to escape.

Several people were treated at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital for smoke inhalation and cold-related injuries since they evacuated the burning structure without shoes and socks. The temperature outside was about 15 degrees.


Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, https://www.newsminer.com

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