LAS VEGAS (KSNV News3LV) — Crews worked for more than four hours this morning to knock down a fire at an abandoned building in the southeast Las Vegas Valley.
Crews responded just before 3 a.m. to the plant at 3350 E. Desert Inn Road, near South Pecos Road, according to a Clark County Fire Department news release. The building, which is owned by NV Energy, hasn’t been occupied for several years and is known to be a place of refuge for vagrants. Now the fire department is trying to figure out the cause of the fire.
Fire crews tell News 3 The area is frequented by vagrants.
After it was determined that there were no immediate life safety issues, the Incident Commander called for a defensive fire attack. Personnel positioned themselves on the exterior of the building and applied water until it was safe to transition into an interior, or “offensive,” fire attack.
Edward Brown, a man who lives in the area, said he saw the vacant NV Energy building going up in flames early Wednesday morning.
"Heard the crackling, the fire was coming out of the rooftop and I heard the windows start to pow, you know, popping and busting out," said Brown.
The fire burned and smoldered for hours after the roof collapsed which made dousing the fire that much more difficult.
Deputy Fire Chief Roy Session said once the roof gave way fighting the fire meant stopping it from spreading to other buildings.
"There's nothing really we can do but put our guys at risk by going in there in a collapsed structure," said Session.
The cause is still under investigation but Session and Brown both suspect it was started by homeless people living inside the empty building.
"There was an opening where they had torn the fence out," Brown said. "I would say at least ten people. I've seen at least ten different people go in and out of this building."
Heavy equipment was even called in to demolish part of the building in order to move smoldering debris and cover it with water.
No casualties have been reported and no dollar loss figure is currently available. The cause of the fire is under investigation.