An apartment fire in downtown Las Vegas killed six people and injured 13 others on Saturday morning. Shortly after 4:00 A.M., firefighters arrived at Alpine Motel Apartments to find people jumping out of windows to try to escape the blaze. Firefighters found three people dead inside the building, one person dead on the sidewalk, and two at unspecified locations. Five of the injured people are in critical condition, one of whom is a pregnant woman.
The fire department says the fire appears to have started around a stove in a first-floor apartment. Residents told investigators that many people used their stoves to heat their apartments, as the building did not have heat, despite many complaints to management.
Several residents reported that they had been using their stoves for warmth because the heat in the building wasn’t working, a spokesman for Las Vegas Fire and Rescue said https://t.co/EwfOVGGYxM
— The New York Times (@nytimes) December 21, 2019
Firefighters reported hearing smoke detectors but no fire alarms going off at the scene. Residents say that they were alerted to the fire by neighbors knocking on their doors. Some tried to pull fire alarms on the second and third floors but reported that the fire alarms did not work. Preliminary information suggests that a backdoor on the first floor had been bolted or chained shut, which blocked off a major escape route. One resident told local news that the back door was routinely bolted shut to keep homeless people from sleeping in the complex.
Las Vegas city records show that Alpine Motel Apartments received at least eight code enforcement complaints from 2016-18, including complaints about a lack of fire safety equipment. According to the Las Vegas Fire and Rescue, this fire is believed to be the deadliest fire in the city’s history.
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