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Investigators look for code violations in deadly Vegas fire

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Investigators look for code violations in deadly Vegas fire

Authorities began their investigation into one of the worst fires in Las Vegas history after six people were killed, 13 injured and nearly 50 others displaced from a three-story downtown building.

December 23, 2019 at 1:08 AM

3 min reading

LAS VEGAS –
Authorities began their investigation into one of the worst fires in Las Vegas history after six people were killed, 13 injured and nearly 50 others displaced from a three-story downtown building.

Some residents of Alpine Motel Apartments told investigators that there was no heat in the building and that they were using their stoves to heat up before the Saturday fire began.

The firefighters who responded reported finding the burners on and hearing the smoke alarms go off but not the fire alarms.

The State Fire Marshal's Office will investigate code violations, including fire alarms, said Las Vegas Fire & Rescue spokesman Tim Szymanski.

Nevada law requires owners to provide heat, but also allows residents to notify the owner.

Las Vegas police and the Clark County coroner's office are also involved in the investigation.

The fire was said to have started around a first floor unit's stove, forcing some residents to jump from the upstairs windows to escape the heavy smoke.

The building, built in 1972 with 41 units, is just a few blocks from the touristy Fremont Street neighborhood of central Las Vegas.

Malinda Mier, co-owner of the building, said she was unaware of any heating issues and that the building was in agreement with inspectors who checked it about five or six months ago.

"We have code enforcement and the health department leaves and everything that needs to be fixed is fixed in a timely manner," Mier told Action Action TV in Las Vegas.

Mier said he was "sad about the loss of life" and could not believe the damage caused by the fire he saw.

"It is beyond my scope and is sad and I still don't know exactly what happened," he added.

Firefighters who arrived at the scene began treating injured people and using stairs to rescue countless people by jumping or hanging from windows, Szymanski said.

"I don't think there is anything more disturbing than stopping at a three-story building and seeing several people hanging from the window with strong black smoke coming out of that building," he said.

Of the 13 people injured, most suffered smoke inhalation, but some also suffered fractures, Szymanski said.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that a pregnant woman in her first trimester collapsed after her hands slipped on a sheet of rope as she came down from the third floor apartment, leaving her with several fractures. The husband told the newspaper that the medical staff said the fetal heartbeat seemed strong.

Szymanski said three people were found dead in the building and three outside after the fire was extinguished. It was not immediately clear if anyone died after falling or jumping from windows.

Of the 13 people injured, five were hospitalized in critical condition on Saturday, including the unidentified pregnant woman. Szymanski said he had no immediate updates on Sunday.

The fire was possibly the deadliest in the Las Vegas area since 1980 when 87 people died and more than 700 were injured in a fire at the MGM Grand Hotel.

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