A Nevada Highway Patrol trooper helped save four teenagers in a house fire Thursday afternoon.
Trooper Robert Borchardt was just starting his shift about 2 p.m. when he was at the intersection of Craig Road and Decatur Boulevard. He noticed the billowing white smoke nearby and hurried to offer aid.
When he arrived at the house, in the 4200 block of Tuffer Lane, he saw the oleanders and grass on the side of the home were burning. He tried to put the flames out with a fire extinguisher, but the blaze spread too quickly.
“That house went up so quick,” Borchardt said. “It seemed like a little plant fire, and the next thing I know the whole house was up in flames.”
He pounded on the front window, hoping to alert anyone inside.
The four teens, between the ages of 16 and 19, were unaware that the house was ablaze and were startled by the pounding. At about the same time they saw the trooper through the window, black smoke began to surround them.
Borchardt got the teens out unharmed and then tried to quell the flames with a garden hose.
“I thought I had it for a second there,” he said. “But one thing led to another, and the heat got so intense I had to abandon it.”
Investigators believe the fire may have been started by a discarded cigarette that ignited the dry brush on the side of the house.
Steady winds helped to spread the flames to the house. The fire moved to the attic and was burning intensely directly above the teens.
The one-story house, across from Parson Elementary School, was a total loss, according to Las Vegas Fire Department spokesman Tim Szymanski. Damage was estimated at $200,000.
“I’m just glad it worked out,” the 15-year Highway Patrol veteran said. “That was my good deed for the day.”
Contact reporter Colton Lochhead at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-4638. Follow him on Twitter @clochhead44.