LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — UPDATE March 17, 4 p.m.: Authorities have identified the second body found in the chapel fire as Burton Winfield Fisher, 31. The cause of death is still pending.
UPDATE March 8, 3 p.m.: Las Vegas Fire & Rescue says a second body was found amidst the rubble of a vacant wedding chapel destroyed in a January fire. The grisly discovery was made March 6.
“On Saturday, we received reports that squatters illegally gained access to the fenced and secured site and found another victim. They circumvented the security measures in place. Metro was contacted as well as the Coroner’s office,” said Fire Chief Jeff Buchanan in a news release. “The victim was found underneath significant debris and insulation. It appeared to arson investigators the victim was present during the fire. The investigation is still ongoing and the identification of the victim and cause of death is unknown and being investigated by the Clark County Coroner’s Office.”
Heavy equipment began sifting through the debris Monday morning. Arson investigators are working to see if there are additional victims and find where the blaze started.
The investigation is expected to last the week.
The Clark County Coroner released the cause of death of Steven Travis Warren, 30, the man who was killed in a vacant wedding chapel fire in January. He died from inhalation of products of combustion, with other significant conditions. Thermal burns and injuries, as well as use of methamphetamine, were also listed.
His manner of death is undetermined.
The Jan. 12 incident was a two-alarm fire near the STRAT on South Las Vegas Boulevard.
Las Vegas Fire & Rescue (LVFAR) firefighters found Warren’s body when they returned to the scene to investigate what caused the blaze. Damages were estimated to total $1 million, according to LVFAR.
When the fire started, authorities say several 911 calls were received reporting thick smoke coming from a “large white building” at 1431 South Las Vegas Boulevard.
Some reports also indicated someone may have been inside the building, according to LVFAR. There were no injuries reported Tuesday night, but firefighters learned otherwise on Wednesday morning when Warren’s body was found.
Arriving crews observed thick smoke coming from the one-story building. Authorities say the structure was boarded up and appeared secured.
At least 30 units and 70 personnel battled the fire at its most intense point. Responding fire crews came from Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and Clark County.
LVFAR says South Las Vegas Boulevard was expected to remain closed overnight as personnel remained on scene.
There are reports the building used to be a Bob’s Big Boy restaurant in the 60s and had been vacant since 2018.
Fire officials say they are now investigating the wedding chapel fire as a fatal fire.