One person is dead and two adults are displaced after a fire in a senior living apartment complex Wednesday afternoon. Las Vegas fire investigators believe the cause of the fire was accidental. One person who lives in the apartment that was on fire and another that lives in the apartment above are displaced and being assisted by the American Red Cross. There were no other reported injuries.
Fire dispatchers received numerous 9-1-1 calls at 3:55 p.m. that thick black smoke was coming from an apartment at the Destinations at Valley View adult apartment complex, 1600 S. Valley View Blvd.
When firefighters arrived, they found smoke and flames coming out the front door of a downstairs apartment in a 16-unit two-story wood frame/stucco apartment building. Firefighters pushed their way against the flames through the front door and found the sofa in the living room on fire. The rest of the apartment was full of thick black smoke. Firefighters had the fire out in a few minutes.
They continued to search the smoke-filled apartment and found the victim lying in a bed in the single bedroom of the apartment. Firefighters brought the victim out and it was determined by paramedics on scene that she was already deceased. It appears she was overcome by the thick black smoke. The official cause of death will be determined by the Clark County Coroner’s Office.
The woman, in her mid 60’s, lived in the apartment with her sister. Her sister left the apartment just previous to the fire to take their dog for a walk. When she returned, firefighters were already in the apartment fighting the fire. The woman was overwhelmed by what she had seen and was immediately taken to the management office and observed by paramedics.
The sister told fire investigators that both of the women smoked and they were previously smoking before the fire in the living room. Fire investigators determined the fire started in the living room, possibly on a small table next to the sofa. Fire investigators cannot rule out the possibility of careless smoking. The fire appears to be accidental.
The apartment had heavy fire and smoke damage. Damage to that unit was estimated at $50,000. The unit above had light smoke damage to the interior; damage was estimated at $15,000.
Careless smoking remains the leading cause of fatal fires in Las Vegas as well as the rest of the United States. Sixty-five percent of the people who have died in fires in Las Vegas for the past 15 years were smoking related. The past three fatal fires in the last six months in Las Vegas all involved senior citizens and careless smoking appeared to be a factor contributing to their death.
Today’s fatal fire is the second this year in Las Vegas. Last year there were a total of five deaths due to fire.