Fire Investigators Determine Electric Fan In Laundry Room Started Fire Displacing Five

A family of five is displaced when a fire swept through their home early this afternoon. There were no injuries as a result of the fire, although the family dog died in the fire and their pet cat is mission. The fire was ruled accidental.

Fire dispatchers received numerous 9-1-1 calls at 2:36 p.m. that a house at 9425 Salt Water Ct. (Ft. Apache/Sahara) in The Lakes had heavy fire and smoke coming out the front door. When firefighters arrived, very heavy flames were showing from the 3500 square foot / two-story wood frame/stucco house. The front double doors to the house were already open because they had burned away from the intense flames.

Firefighters pushed into the front of the house, aggressively attacking the fire. As a result, within ten minutes they had gained control of the fire. Within thirty minutes the fire was completely out.

No one was home at the time of the fire. One of the adults just left the house to pick up one of their children at school. The family has lived in the home for the past ten years.

Fire investigators determined the fire started in an exhaust fan in the ceiling of the laundry room. The flames burned for a while in a void area between the first and second floors, then came out an air vent in a large atrium at the front of the house which was open to all the rooms in the house. The atrium acted as a chimney and spread the fire to nearly all the rooms in the house. The rooms that were not affected by the flames directly sustained intense heat and smoke damage. A large amount of the family’s possessions were damaged or destroyed by the fire. Damage was estimated at $250,000.

A four year old pet Beagle died of smoke inhalation and the family’s cat could not be found.

The American Red Cross and Las Vegas Fire & Rescue Foundation provided assistance to the family.

Small exhaust fans commonly found in residential bathrooms and laundry rooms have started a number of fires in Las Vegas homes over the years. If used extensively, they should be vacuumed to clean built up dust and dirt from the cooling vents for the motor. When the vents become clogged, the motor overheats and become extremely hot which eventually catches fire. This type of motor is also found in refrigerators, freezers, exhaust fans over stoves, ceiling fans and the common house fan used for cooling. If fans are slow to start, make noise while in operation or do not work at all, they should be left off and repaired or replaced by a qualified electrical technician.