LAS VEGAS – Clark County Fire Department investigators have concluded their inquiry into the massive apartment fire that engulfed a construction site in the southwest valley last June, ruling the cause as “undetermined.” The fire erupted at an apartment complex under construction near I-215 and Buffalo, and despite extensive efforts, the investigation was unable to pinpoint a definitive heat source or initial material ignited.
The fire, which burned for days, consumed the 75 percent completed apartment complex and resulted in an estimated $90 million in losses. Assistant Fire Chief Carlito Rayos explained, “We classify this fire as undetermined. We were not able to identify a competent heat source, or the first material ignited.” However, Rayos emphasized that evidence of arson was absent during the investigation.
Though the fire began on the roof, K-9 “Countess,” a fire department canine, detected nearly 60 different ignitable liquids in the vicinity. Fire investigator Ron Mauro noted that this occurrence wasn’t unusual in a construction site, given the presence of various accelerants like fuel for tools and vehicles.
Currently, samples of the detected liquids are undergoing testing in a laboratory. Yet, investigators anticipate that even after receiving results, the fire’s cause will remain undetermined. Rayos stated, “That’s not going to change our classification, but we will remain open in case there is some breaking information that comes in.”
As the property developer contemplates the path forward, the emotional toll is evident. The developer is closely collaborating with Clark County Fire to explore options for rebuilding. Rayos recounted, “I was moved by how emotional they were. They’re some pretty big, brawny guys, construction guys, and seeing them in tears because their labor of love had been destroyed and burned to rubbles.”
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