Las Vegas fire investigators are looking into the cause of a fire that killed one man, sent three others to the hospital and gutted the house. A pet dog made it out of the burning home without injury and is staying with neighbors.
Fire dispatchers received several 9-1-1 calls at 12:09 a.m. that a house at 4316 Nolan Lane (Alta/Decatur) was on fire and someone maybe trapped inside. Callers also stated that one of the occupants was being pulled out of the house through a window on the front of the house.
When firefighters arrived a few minutes later, heavy fire and smoke was showing from the one-story wood frame/stucco house. Firefighters entered the house and brought it under control in ten minutes. Once they knocked down the fire, they found the body of a male adult in a rear bedroom.
Three other men who also lived in the house were taken to the hospital for minor smoke inhalation and possible carbon monoxide poisoning. Their injuries were not life threatening.
The occupants told fire investigators that the four men lived in the house together for the past two or three years. The man that was deceased was confined to his bed because of an injury. He was tended to by a visiting nurse and the other three men.
Just after midnight, one of the men was watching television and smelled smoke. He went around the house to check and as he walked down the hallway to a bedroom at the rear of the house, he encountered thick black smoke. He made it to the bedroom where the bed ridden man was staying, but could not enter because of the smoke. He said he could see a glow from the fire on the floor. He headed back toward the front of the house to escape, but he could barely see. He and one other man just made out the front door when the entire inside of the home engulfed in flames. One other man was still in a bedroom on the front of the house, he escaped through a window helped by neighbors.
The cause of the fire has not been determined. The incident is being investigated by Las Vegas Fire & Rescue fire investigators, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police and the Clark County Coroner’s Office, which is standard procedure after any fatal fire.
If the fatality is ruled as a result of the fire, it will be the first in the city this year. A total of five people died in fires in Las Vegas during 2012, which was up from two in 2011.
Fire investigators will be looking at two possibilities that caused the fire: careless smoking and a space heater. The occupants told fire investigators that the man smoked and they were concerned about his smoking. They said he also had a space heater in the room near the bed, the place where it appeared the fire started.
Careless smoking is the leading cause of fatal fires in Las Vegas as well as the rest of the U.S., especially between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., the time when people sleep.
Space heaters cause many fires and fire related injuries in the United States especially during the months of January through March because of the cold weather. It is usually because they are placed too close to combustible objects such as beds or sofas or people drop combustible items onto the heaters such as clothing. Space heaters should not be used when sleeping and should be off when no one is at home.
The fire completely gutted the inside of the house and destroyed most of the contents. Damage was estimated at $100,000.
Once the men are released from the hospital, the American Red Cross will be offering assistance. One of the men told fire investigators that they lost everything in the fire.