Las Vegas fire investigators believe a fire that gutted a downtown duplex early Thursday morning was accidental. Four people that live in the building were able to escape without injury and are being assisted by the American Red Cross.
Firefighters responded to the Heavenly Bliss Wedding Chapel, 516 South Fourth Street (4th/Clark) at 2:55AM Thursday morning. When firefighters arrived heavy smoke and flames were showing from a small 2-story wood frame duplex that sit in an alley behind the wedding chapel. The building is two apartments, one upstairs/one downstairs that is occupied by employees of the chapel.
The fire started in the downstairs unit. The occupant of the unit told investigators that he had a candle burning next to his bed and fell asleep. He woke to find the mattress on fire. He tried to put the fire out, but it grew quickly out of control. The two of the three upstairs adult occupants were also asleep; the third person was sitting in a chair and smelled smoke. When she looked outside, see could see flames. All three of the upstairs occupants just barely escaped along with a pet dog.
One other pet dog was unable to escape and died in the fire. There were no working smoke alarms found in the building.
Fire investigators ruled the fire accidental, the result of a candle. The inside of the building was gutted and a storage room on the outside of the wedding chapel was also damaged by the fire. Damage was estimated at $75,000. The wedding chapel itself was not damaged and is expected to be open for business.
The fire was 2-alarm bringing a total of 20 fire units with 50 firefighters to the scene. The fire was brought under control in less than ten minutes.