A family of five is lucky to be alive today after their eastside Las Vegas home caught fire early Friday morning. All five of the family members were taken to the hospital for minor smoke inhalation. A neighbor who alerted the family of the fire was also taken to the hospital for minor smoke inhalation. Fire investigators have ruled the fire accidental; they believe it was electrical in nature.
Fire dispatchers received multiple 9-1-1 calls at 5 a.m. that a house at 1916 Wengert Avenue (Eastern/Charleston) was on fire. When firefighters arrived on scene, smoke was coming out the vents of the attic of the one-story, wood-frame house. Firefighters found bars on the windows and on the front door of the house. They were told that several people were injured due to the fire, and additional rescue units were requested.
Firefighters had to force entry through the front door of the house that had bars on it, and was locked with a padlock and chain. Once inside they found the fire was confined to the attic area. They brought the fire under control quickly and confined the fire to the attic. The ceilings in the house failed and debris from the attic area fell into the living area of the home.
Fire investigators believe the fire started in the attic area around a new air conditioner that is mounted on the roof of the house. The air conditioner was installed just a month ago. The family members told fire investigators that they were having electrical issues throughout the rest of the house since December. Circuit breakers would shut off and appliances would get very hot when used. Fire investigators believe the nature of the fire was electrical.
There were no smoke alarms in the house. Paramedics said that all of the occupants of the house had elevated levels of carbon monoxide, which is common during a fire, and posed a threat. Along with difficulty breathing because of the smoke, they were all taken to the hospital.
A neighbor who went over to the house to alert the family of the fire was also overcome by smoke and was taken to the hospital. One person suffered a laceration due to broken glass.
Damage is estimated at $125,000. The American Red Cross will be assisting the displaced family of five.
Electrical fires are the second leading cause of fires in Las Vegas and causes more damage than all other types of fires combined.