Las Vegas Fire & Rescue Arson Investigators have ruled a West Las Vegas house fire accidental. The fire sent three people to the hospital and killed a father and his teenage son. The American Red Cross is assisting another son, who was not home at the time of the fire, and his mother who was rescued by police officers.
Fire dispatchers received numerous 9-1-1 calls at 6:33 p.m. Thursday that there had been an explosion and house fire at 850 Bartlett Ave. (Revere/W. Lake Mead). A column of dense black smoke could be seen from all around the Las Vegas Valley as firefighters and police officers responded to the scene.
Metro Police had a unit on Bartlett Ave. when the explosion occurred. The police officer witnessed the explosion and went directly to the house. But his advance to the front door was block by a wall of fire that some said was 20 feet high. North Las Vegas Police were also in the area and responded to the house. One Metro officer and a North Las Vegas officer scaled a block wall and attempted to gain access into the house from the rear. They were told that the teen was trapped inside the house. But the house had security bars on the doors and windows and the two officers could not gain access. They tried in vain to beat the bars off the house but were not successful. At that time, the teen’s mother was trying to leave the house through a door and the officers rescued her. The two officers were then taken to University Medical Center for smoke inhalation.
While the officers were trying to gain access through the rear of the house, firefighters arrived on scene and were able to knock down the main bulk of the fire at the front entrance and crawl into the house. They found the teen in a rear bedroom unresponsive. He was transported to University Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead. It appeared he suffered from smoke inhalation.
Within 15 minutes of arrival firefighters had the fire under control and at the time the father was found lying in front of the house under a carport which had been destroyed by fire. Shortly after that the man’s wife was transported to University Medical Center due to being extremely distraught and overwhelmed.
Fire investigators determined the man was working with gasoline from a boat that was parked under the carport. It appears that a quantity of the gasoline had either vaporized or spilled and found an ignition source. That caused an initial flash fire under the carport. Fumes are believed to have entered the home through a front door at the carport. Those fumes exploded after the flash fire under the carport. The ensuring fire then engulfed the entire interior of the home filling it with extreme heat, thick black smoke and deadly gases in less than 30 seconds.
The fire completely destroyed the entire interior of the home, carport, a boat and one car and caused extensive damage to the exterior of the home. Damage was estimated at $70,000.
Four pet dogs were in the backyard during the fire. They were not harmed and neighbors said they would take care of the pets until the family could take them back.
The man and his son are the first two people to die as a result of a fire within the city of Las Vegas for 2012. Last year a total of two people died in fires in the city.
Gasoline is an extremely dangerous fuel. It is most dangerous when in a vapor form, which can cause an extremely violent explosion which is equivalent to dynamite. Gasoline should never be stored inside a home and should be kept in approved gas can with a proper vent.
Nearly 75 personnel from Las Vegas Fire & Rescue, North Las Vegas Fire Dept, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police, North Las Vegas Police and American Medical Response were involved during the incident.
END ## LVFR/PEIO-TRS
E106,50,3,53, T3, R1,201,3,301,53, EMS1, CB8, AR53, B1,5, PIO1, 6i4, 6i7, 6i9, 6i12, 101, 116