A vacant house downtown was heavily damaged by fire early Thursday morning. The cause is undetermined. Neighbors told fire investigators that homeless people were staying in the house. There were no injuries reported during the incident.
Firefighters were dispatched at 2:29 a.m. to 328 N. 16th St. (next to the US 95 overpass). On arrival, heavy flames were starting to burn through the roof of a one-story wood frame house. Firefighters fought the fire from the outside using water sprayed down from two aerial ladders after it appeared the air conditioner on the roof of the house was caving in.
It took firefighters about 15 minutes to bring the fire under control. Their main concern was to prevent the fire from spreading to a three-unit apartment building that was nearly up against the house that was on fire.
The fire heavily damaged the vacant house. Damage was estimated at $50,000. The apartment building next door was not damaged. The apartment building was evacuated for a short time; residents were permitted to return after the fire was extinguished.
The fire completely destroyed the interior of the house making it impossible for fire investigators to determine the exact cause of the fire. Neighbors told fire investigators that the house was vacant for a long time and was unsecured. They said homeless people were staying in the house on a regular basis.
There were no injuries and no one was displaced by the fire.