Electrical problem cited as likely cause of second Fosbee fire this week

Capital City Firefighters on Wednesday responded to the second fire in three days at the Fosbee apartment building.

For the second time this week, a fire at the Fosbee apartment building downtown sent residents into the cold night.

Firefighters responding to an automatic fire alarm Wednesday evening found smoke on the second floor and hot spots inside the walls of two separate units. Power was turned off to the building and firefighters investigated. Holes were cut in the walls to make sure there was no active fire.

But when power was restored, there was more smoke. At one point a fireman brought out a toaster sitting on a stove burner.

In a news release on Capital City Fire and Rescue’s website, Fire Marshal Dan Jager says the main power disconnect to the building was malfunctioning, so fire personnel ordered the building be evacuated until an electrician can repair the problem. Jager said his office would work with the city’s Building Department and the owner on “compliance with fire and life safety issues.”

The CBJ Assessor’s database indicates the building is owned by Allan and Sally Engstrom. Building manager, Juan Munoz, was at the scene and declined to comment.

Jager said a fire Monday night may have been caused by a power surge due to electrical problems in the building. He initially believed it had been caused by Christmas lights.

Fosbee residents and building manager Juan Munoz stand across the street from the apartment building awaiting information about whether residents would be allowed back in their homes Wednesday night.

Temperatures were in the teens Wednesday night when firefighters told residents to leave. Some sat in their cars outside, but most stood in the freezing cold waiting for word as to when they would be allowed back into the building. Several residents wondered why there had been a number of fire alarms lately.

As people waited, a Red Cross volunteer brought blankets for them and said the agency would work with the city to find housing for the residents, if it was later determined that would be necessary. CBJ Emergency Programs Manager Tom Mattice arrived on the scene about 6:30 p.m. to coordinate with the fire department and electrician on the final decision.

The 30 apartments in the building are all leased, and an estimated 60 people live in the Fosbee.