Downtown Las Vegas Sees Multiple Fires, Could Be Linked to Homeless Squatters

Fires took place in four vacant Las Vegas buildings in a multi-hour stretch from Sunday to Monday. There were no injuries.

Firefighters extinguish a fire in an apartment Monday at Cabana Suites on Ogden Avenue. Other fires broke out in Las Vegas around the same time. (Image: Las Vegas Fire and Rescue)

One downtown blaze was near the El Cortez Hotel & Casino. The El Cortez is Las Vegas’ oldest existing casino.

Flames did not reach to the gaming property. The blaze broke out at about 5:14 am Monday in a vacant three-story apartment building at the intersection of Ogden Avenue and 7th Street.

The property is next to the El Cortez Cabana Suites.

The fire was first seen in a ground-floor unit in the apartment building. Flames soon spread. The blaze was extinguished at about 6:15 am.

An earlier fire was reported at 11:22 pm Sunday. It was in the basement and courtyard of a vacant motel at 13th Street and Fremont Street.

Then, at 11:55 pm, a fire was reported at a vacant one-story residence on Harrison Avenue.

Also, a vacant restaurant on North Rainbow Boulevard caught fire at 7:41 pm Sunday. There was about $35,000 in damage, Las Vegas Fire Department spokesman Tim Szymanski said.

The cause is undetermined but they said they couldn’t rule out homeless people because the person who called it in said they thought homeless people were messing around, possibly starting it,” Szymanski told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The fire department did not have an estimate on damages for the other recent fires.

Historic Blaze

The fires follow more significant blazes that took place in recent weeks.

For instance, Las Vegas fire investigators have found “nothing suspicious” when searching for the cause of a fire at a Fremont Street residential complex that broke out on June 19.

The historic blaze caused widespread damage to residential buildings off of Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas. It was the largest number of occupied dwelling units on fire in 25 years, Las Vegas firefighters reported.

Ten or more buildings were heavily damaged or destroyed in the four-alarm fire that took five hours to bring under control, firefighters said.

Much of downtown lost power in connection with the fire, according to initial reports. Traffic in the area was also impacted. The enflamed buildings were made up of a condominium complex.

A utility pole at the scene caught fire and collapsed during the blaze, and utility lines fell to the ground. That led to a portion of the downtown area losing electricity. There was one minor injury from the fire.

Warehouse Fire

Also, on June 22, a vacant warehouse west of the Las Vegas Strip caught on fire, with firefighters facing heavy flames and smoke. The property is located near the Palms Casino Resort.

There were no injuries reported, based on initial information from Clark County Deputy Fire Chief Warren Whitney.

The first arriving firefighters found a fire with heavy smoke and flames. The warehouse has been empty for about 10 years, Whitney said.

The site was also the location of prior fires started by homeless individuals, the deputy chief said.

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