Alaska man in custody in fatal apartment building fire
By DAN JOLING
Aug. 17, 2018
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska man was taken into custody Friday after being indicted on murder and other charges in a fire that burned an Anchorage apartment complex and killed three people.
Andrew Eknaty, 30, was apprehended hours after prosecutors announced that a grand jury had indicted him and Caleigh Fox, 29, in connection with the Feb. 15, 2017, fire that burned Royal Suite Apartments on Anchorage's west side. Fox is in custody.
Online court documents do not list an attorney for Eknaty or Fox.
The fire killed Vivian Hall, Teuaililo Nua and Laura Kramer. Hall died from burn injuries. Nua died after falling while trying to escape, prosecutors said. Kramer died of smoke inhalation.
Eight people were seriously injured and dozens lost their homes, prosecutors said.
The grand jury indicted Fox and Eknaty on counts of second-degree murder, manslaughter, felony assault and arson. They also face counts of assault on an unborn child, conspiracy, evidence tampering and failure to report or control a dangerous fire.
The couple is suspected of starting the blaze.
Among the injured was a woman who was 26-weeks pregnant and suffered burns and a broken back. She was medically evacuated to Seattle, where she survived and gave birth to a girl.
The fire started in a car parked in a carport beneath the apartments, prosecutors said.
Court documents say Eknaty stole a bottle of alcohol from a liquor store before the fire while Fox waited in a car. They consumed the bottle and later struck a snow berm as Fox drove.
University of Alaska Anchorage police saw the minor accident and tried to stop the car but say it left at high speed. In an interview later with police, Eknaty said he checked the damage to the car and noticed the license plate was missing.
Fox and Eknaty decided to report the car as stolen, prosecutors said. Surveillance video showed it pulling into the apartment parking lot at 2:10 a.m.
Authorities said a fire was intentionally started inside the car before Fox and Eknaty left.
Emergency responders received the first 911 after the fire had spread from the car to the west end of the apartment complex.
When police contacted Fox, she initially told them her car had been stolen, prosecutors said. She later acknowledged she had lied and that she had eluded police while drunk.