Las Vegas and Clark County firefighters battled a two alarm apartment complex fire on West Sahara Avenue early Monday afternoon. Winds fanned the flames and help spread the fire. Firefighters brought the fire under control in less than 10 minutes, just as it was spreading to an adjacent apartment building. There were no injuries in connection with the incident.
Fire dispatchers received several calls at 12:56 p.m. that a first floor apartment patio was on fire at the Sahara Palm apartments, 2900 El Camino Ave.
Within a few minutes firefighters arrived on scene and found the fire was quickly spreading and requested a second alarm. The fire was advancing through a hallway which is open on both ends to the outside. The hallway acted as a wind tunnel and helped to spread the fire. The fire was blowing out the other end of the hallway onto another apartment building and a large tree. Another fire engine arrived on scene and was able to stop the advancement of the fire on the second apartment building. Only the exterior of the second apartment building was damaged.
The fire damaged eight apartments, three were completely gutted. The other units had smoke and water damage. The attic area had some damage as well as the roof. Damage was estimated at $500,000.
Fire investigators ruled the fire accidental. They could not rule out careless smoking as the cause. The occupant told fire investigators he smelled smoke earlier but could not find the source. He left his apartment to go to the store and did not see anything unusual. A passer by in the apartment complex saw the fire outside on the patio and notified management. The occupant told fire investigators that he smokes outside on the patio on a regular basis, not inside the apartment.
The American Red Cross was assisting 20 people who lived in the eight units.
A fire weather warning was in effect for Las Vegas at the time of the fire. A fire weather warning means conditions exists that will affect fire behavior because of high temperature, low humidity and high/gusty winds. Any type of fire during a fire weather warning is extremely dangerous and weather conditions will help spread the fire. At the time of this fire, winds were gusting to 25 miles per hour, humidity was 11 percent and the temperature was 100 degrees. Residents are urged to be extremely careful with smoking material during fire weather warnings and to refrain from outside cooking and any other activity using fire.