DATE/TIME: 031299/2000PST
RELEASE: 99-42


An intense 2-Alarm fire destroyed four homes under construction and damaged
three occupied homes on the City’s northwest side late Friday afternoon. The
American Red Cross is working with one family, whose house was extensively
damaged by the fire. There were no injuries in connection with the incident.
Many calls were received at the Fire Dispatch Center at 3:22PM, that at least
three houses were on fire in the MOUNTAIN AIRE housing development near
Elkhorn Road and U.S. 95 on the extreme northwest side of the city. As fire
units were leaving the station, firefighters could see a giant column of black
smoke in the air. When they were one mile from the scene, they could see
heavy flames in the air and called for a second alarm.
When the first fire engine arrived on the scene, they found three houses,
under construction, fully involved, with fire threatening three other houses.
A fourth house under construction were already on fire and two occupied homes
were also suffering damage from the intense heat and flames. As fire units
arrived on the scene, they immediately used large water cannons and an aerial
nozzle to surround the large fire and keep it from spreading to several other
homes in the immediate area. A large crowd of people immediately filled the
streets and traffic could been seen leaving nearby US 95 to see where all the
smoke was coming from.
Within 15 minutes, firefighters had the fire under control. It took several
hours to completely douse all the embers and hot spots that remained in the
Fire Investigators believe that the fire started in a 2-story house that was
under construction on Purple Mountain Avenue. Several witnesses told
investigators that they could see flames on the second floor of the house,
that still did not have any sheathing on the walls. The exposed wood studs
quickly became involved with fire and high winds fanned the flames to a house
next door under construction. As the fire intensified, the heat caused
external damage to an occupied house, next door at 7116 Feather Pine. No one
was home, the couple that lives in the home is on vacation in California.
That house suffered extensive damage to the stucco and several windows were
broken due to the heat. There was no damage to the interior of the home.
As the fire grew larger, it spread to another house next door. At this time,
three houses under construction were fully involved. The heat and flames,
still being fanned by the wind, were spreading to another house under
construction, firefighters just arrived on the scene and were able to stop the
fire at the fourth house under construction.
At the same time, the intense heat started a house on fire at 7828 High
Stream Ct. A fifteen year old, who lives in the home, told Fire Investigators
that he just got home from school and was making a sandwich in kitchen. He
thought he smell something burning and noticed that a shadow what moving on
the closed blinds. When he opened the blinds to see what it was, he found the
house to the rear fully involved on fire and he said he could feel the heat
coming through the glass. He ran out the front door and heard several
neighbors screaming for him to run as fast as he could. His house started on
fire and suffered extensive damage. He along with his mother and father are
being assisted by the American Red Cross. His father arrived on the scene a
short time later and was so upset about the incident that Fire Paramedics had
to comfort him.
A house next door at 7924 High Stream Ct, also suffered minor damage. Most
of the windows were broken on the rear of the house, several toys were melted
by the heat and the grass in their backyard was burned.
Fire Investigators estimated damage at a minimum of $300,000. Altogether,
four houses were destroyed, two occupied houses suffered moderate damage and
one occupied house suffered extensive damage.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. Fire Investigators want to
talk with construction workers who worked on the homes earlier in the day,
they had already gone home for the day. Also they want to talk with several
other people in the neighborhood.
A total of nearly 50 firefighters responded with 15 pieces of equipment to
scene. The were no problems with fighting fire, there were several fire
hydrants in the area for firefighters to use.
The Mountain Aire subdivision was built by Dunmore Homes. The development is
2 ˝ years old and these were the final homes being built in the development.
There were no injuries in connection with the incident.