Fire Calls Increasing in Las Vegas - 8 News NOW

Fire Calls Increasing in Las Vegas

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LAS VEGAS -- Firefighters in the Las Vegas valley are helping those in need at record levels.

Las Vegas Fire and Rescue said last year it ran on the most calls in department history and the economy could have something to do with the increase.

The department ran on 16 multi-alarm fires last year.

"Last year, we had 97,225 runs approximately, and that's the most runs in the history of Las Vegas fire & rescue," Las Vegas Fire and Rescue spokesman Tim Szymanski said.

Szymanski said about 3,000 of those calls were fire-related, including a last September boat explosion that killed a father and son.

Szymanski also said the economy picking up could be an explanation for last year's surge because in tough times, the department was slower.

"We actually had people that called 911 and when they asked if they would be charged to go to the hospital in an ambulance, and they were told they'd have to pay an ambulance fee, they said, 'Well, don't send anybody,'" he said.

2012 was also record-setting for the Clark County Fire Department's calls.

Most were medical emergencies, but they had a small decrease in fire runs.

Community outreach is key in reducing fires, said Sandra Baker, assistant chief of the county's fire department.

"If I notice that people are smoking in bed a little bit more in one area, I can work with other entities to try to curve those behaviors," she said.

According to the American Red Cross, with so families burned out last year, the agency is adjusting to help more fire victims.

Lloyd Ziel, of the Red Cross, said the local chapter responds to a home fire every 23 hours.

"Last year, our goal to raise money was $250,000, and this year, we had to increase our goal to $300,000," he said.

Las Vegas Fire and Rescue calls have increased by 17 percent since 2006, according to the department.

The department expects to go on 100,000 runs by the end of 2013.

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