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Media Release

 

Friday, August 23, 2013
For Immediate Release
Fire & Rescue

Contact: Tim Szymanski
Telephone: 303-2993

 

Fire Investigators Rule Fatal House Fire Accidental
Fire Investigators Believe Origin of Fire Was Electrical In Nature

 

Las Vegas fire investigators have completed their investigation into a house fire on city’s far northwest side on Aug. 8 that took the lives of a Memphis Tennessee couple and injured the occupants of the home.

After an extensive investigation, it has been determined the fire started in the attic of the large home and smoldered for several hours until it broke through the roof and caused a collapse which trapped the people inside the home.

Investigators believe the fire started in the attic as much as 4-6 hours before the fire was discovered at 11:53 p.m. It appears the fire started in the attic and smoldered. As it smoldered it also spread. People in the area reported they smelled something burning as early as 6:30 that evening. Around 9 p.m. people saw something like a fog in the area. Though there was an odor of something burning and smoke in the area, people could not find the source.

The occupants inside the house where the fire started were not aware that there was fire activity in the attic. There was no smoke or smoke odor and the smoke alarms were not active. Suddenly a portion of the attic which served as a patio cover over the patio came crashing down and was fully ablaze. One of the occupants said everything was on fire on the back patio. The four occupants started to evacuate as portions of the interior started to cave in, which was also on fire. The fire quickly escalated and was raging through the roof by the time firefighters arrived on scene.

The two occupants of the home escaped out the front door, but were injured by the fire. The two people who were visiting were unable to escape in time and died.

Fire dispatchers received several calls at 11:53 p.m. that the house at 9209 Empire Rock St. (Iron Mountain/U.S. 95) was on fire. Two people who made it out of the house told neighbors that two elderly people were still inside the burning home.

When firefighters arrived at the one-story wood frame house of approximately 3,700 square feet, the house was covered with very dense smoke making visibility difficult and flames were through the roof. A second alarm was dispatched to prevent the fire from spreading to a neighboring home.

The bulk of the fire was knocked down within an hour; the fire was declared under control at 1:30 a.m.

The two people who live in the house were taken to the hospital with burns and smoke inhalation. 

Two other elderly adults were visiting the couple. One person was located inside the home just after the fire was brought under control, the other person was found just before 4 a.m. Extensive damage debris made it extremely difficult for firefighters to locate the two fatalities.

The cause of the fire appears to be electrical in nature starting in the attic. There was speculation that a barbecue on the patio started the fire because it was used earlier in the day, but fire investigators determined that was not the cause.

The fire caused extensive damage to the house. Damage is estimated at $350,000.

There were no injuries reported to first responders.

-end

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