LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Six lives were lost, 13 were injured and dozens were left homeless after what’s being called the deadliest residential fire in the city of Las Vegas’ history. One of the biggest questions the public has is could this have been prevented?
The fire broke out early Saturday morning at the Alpine Motel Apartments on 9th Street between Stewart at Ogden. Investigators think a stove started it, but there are reports no alarms went off.
Seventy people lived in the building’s 42 units. Investigators will need to go through all those rooms in an investigation that could take weeks. They want to find out why the fire spread the way it did and if fire alarms were working.
8 News Now looked into open code violations on the building. We found there were some past violations, but they were corrected. In 2017, alarm issues were recorded but were fixed, as well.
Survivors are still trying to cope, knowing six lives were lost and that it could have been one of them. First responders and residents relived the tragedy in the days after.
“We look at it as a career fire for some of our men and women,” noted Captain Todd Ingalsbee of Las Vegas Fire & Rescue.
“I smelled smoke. I looked to the right and smoke was just pouring out … five minutes later, flames were shooting out the front door,” recalled survivor Sandra Jones. She said she and her friend tried to get out as fast as they could.
She described how just days before Christmas, she’s been left with nothing.
“I’m still numb. I lost everything; I turned my studio into a junior one-bedroom apartment. I put so much money into it. Even my rent money, I lost it in there.”
But Jones is grateful for her life and that her friend Brian Johnson survived, too.
“When I close my eyes, the images are the flames shooting in front of the building, and it won’t go away,” said Johnson. “I don’t really have words to describe the amount of worries and anguish and emotional. I haven’t broken down yet.”
As for those who died in the fire, we are waiting for their names to be released from the coroner’s office.
Support is pouring in for survivors, including a GoFundMe set up by the Downtown Vegas Alliance. The Mob Museum, an alliance member, has set up boxes to accept donations of new items from Dec. 24-27. The museum is asking for the following items:
- Clothing — men’s, women’s, boys’ and girls’ sizes
The money raised through the GoFundMe will be converted into gift cards and immediate-needs items to be distributed to those impacted. After these needs have been met, the rest of the money will be donated to victims as they continue their journeys toward healing.