Investigators are trying to determine if a fire in a downtown Las Vegas home Thursday morning caused a woman’s death. The woman was found in a bedroom of the house and her husband was able to escape without injury. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Firefighters responded to 1417 Joshua Way (near Maryland Parkway and Charleston Boulevard) at 6:08 a.m. after receiving several calls. The house is a block away from a city of Las Vegas fire station and firefighters arrived in just a few minutes. The occupant met firefighters at the street and told them that the fire was in a rear bedroom of the house and that he was not sure of his wife’s whereabouts.
Firefighters did a primary search of the house and were unable to locate anyone. They entered the rear bedroom and found the fire and quickly put it out. After the fire was out, they discovered the body of the man’s wife in the bedroom.
The fire was confined to the bedroom. Damage is estimated at $10,000.
The man told investigators he was asleep in another room and woke to go to the bathroom. He said he woke to find a slight haze in the house, so he walked around the one-story wood frame/stucco house to find the source of the smoke. He told investigators he opened the door to the rear bedroom and found it partially filled with smoke and noticed a fire across the room. He said he then took a blanket to smother the fire and thought he had it almost out and went to the kitchen to get a pan of water to throw on it. He told firefighters that when he returned, the fire had flared back up and was more intense to the point he could not re-enter the room. He said he then evacuated the house.
The woman, who was in her 50’s, was found where the fire appears to have started. When the man tried to put the fire out, he said he was not aware that his wife was in the room. He told firefighters after they arrived that he was not sure if his wife was able to get out.
The cause of the woman’s death will be determined after an autopsy by the Clark County Coroner’s Office. The death is not being ruled a fire fatality until the cause of death can be determined. If it is ruled a fire fatality, it would be the city’s second fire fatality for the year. The first occurred on September 11 because of careless smoking.
The incident remains under investigation by Las Vegas fire investigators, Metro Police Homicide Unit and the Clark County Coroner’s Office. All three agencies work together whenever a fire fatality occurs in the city of Las Vegas.
There were no injuries to fire personnel during the incident. The American Red Cross is assisting the husband with temporary housing and belongings.