LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Six people are dead and 13 are injured after a fire broke out in a motel in downtown Las Vegas early Saturday morning, according to the Las Vegas Fire Department.
Officials responded to a call just before 4:15 a.m. at the three-story Alpine Motel Apartments on 9th Street, between Stewart Avenue and Ogden Avenue.
Las Vegas Fire Public Information Officer Tim Szymanski said fire investigators believe the fire was accidental and started in a stove in one of the first floor units inside the motel.
People in the building told investigators that there was no heat in the building and they were using the stove to stay warm.
Szymanski said 13 people were injured and nearly 50 were displaced. A pregnant woman who reportedly jumped from the building is one of the victims critically injured, Szymanski said.
There were reports of multiple people jumping from windows when officials arrived on scene.
“I don’t think there is anything that is more disturbing than to pull up on a 3-story building and see multiple people hanging out a window with heavy black smoke coming out of that building,” Szymanski said.
He said a fall 16 feet or higher can be fatal.
Despite the casualties, officials said the fire was “an easy put out,” and crews extinguished the blaze in less than a minute. Officials say the fire produced a thick black smoke that made it impossible for those trapped inside to breathe.
Firefighters found three people dead inside of the building, as well as another deceased person on the sidewalk. Two others were also found, making the death total six.
Officials say three pets died, including two cats and one dog. Firefighters did save one dog.
After arriving and finding about 5 to 6 victims on the ground, officials immediately called for a second alarm, which doubled their resources at the scene. Officials say at one point, about 15 firefighters were working on a victim with smoke inhalation.
Most of those injured had smoke inhalation, and some obtained fractures from jumping and falling out of the building.
“This is the period that makes firefighters the most nervous, in addition to the 4th of July each year. We’ve got Christmas trees, candles, heating devices,” Szymanski said. Officials say to never use a stove as a heating device because they are not made for that usage.
Officials estimate $475,000 in damages to the older 41-unit motel that was built in 1972. LVFRD says management estimates that approximately 70 people lived in the building. 42 people met with the American Red Cross for assistance after the fire, according to Szymanski.
The City of Las Vegas says they will be interviewing families to provide assistance on Monday, Dec. 23, starting at 9 a.m. They will open what they are calling the “Alpine Hotel Family Assistance Center” at Dula Gym, located at 441 East Bonanza Road. They have also set up a “Community Healing Fund” to assist those displaced with housing and supportive services. You can donate by clicking here.
Las Vegas Fire says the occupant of the unit where the fire started has not been located. They believe the motel fire appears to be accidental and not criminal. The cause remains under investigation.
Las Vegas Fire Department says this incident was a team effort by multiplle city departments. Clark County fire investigators, a homicide unit, the Clark County Coroner’s Office and CSI from LVMPD all assisted with the fire.
Szymanski says this motel fire was the city’s worst fatal fire in Las Vegas Fire and Rescue’s history since its creation in 1942.
The department also says the total number of people who have died by fire in the City of Las Vegas (inside city limits) for 2019 is now 12. They say it appears to be the most number of fatalities in one year in their history.
According to Clark County property records, the motel was bought by Las Vegas Dragon Hotel LLC in 2013 for $805,000.
Governor Sisolak gave his condolences in a tweet on Saturday.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.