A fire at a downtown Las Vegas residential hotel early Friday frightened residents as they evacuated the smoke-filled property but caused only one minor injury.
Anna Ramirez said she and her daughter were staying on the third floor of the Bridger Inn Hotel, 301 S. Main St., at Bridger Avenue, when she awoke to the sound of smoke alarms at approximately 5:55 a.m.
“People are screaming for help,” Ramirez recalled. “I wake up and I saw all the smoke so I closed (the door) right away because I didn’t know where the fire was. “I said, ‘Get your stuff. We gotta get out of here. We’ve got to go down the stairs.’ So that’s what we did. We inhaled a bunch of smoke because the third floor was filled with smoke, but I could still hear a bunch of people screaming in there.”
Another guest of the hotel, John Ward, said he too awoke to smoke-filled hallways.
“I just heard the alarm at about a quarter past six and I got my wallet, whatever else I could get, and ran down the hallway,” Ward said. “The hallway was full of smoke.”
Firefighters were called to the motel about 6:30 a.m. Friday after report of smoke coming from a room on the third floor, according to a release from the Las Vegas Fire Department.
“Fire is out. Small area of carpet & mattress smoldering in one room on arrival,” Las Vegas Fire & Rescue tweeted at 7:30 a.m.
Ramirez said a resident of the hotel told her one of the exits of the hotel was locked shut. Las Vegas Fire Department spokesman Tim Szymanski said the Fire Department could not confirm the account.
Firefighters found the occupant of the room where the fire broke out outside the motel, the department said. Fire crews first believed he burnt his leg, but it was later determined that those burns were from a previous fire the person was in.
However, the person was treated at University Medical Center for a burn to his thumb, the department said.
The cause of the fire remained under investigation Friday morning, but the department said investigators cannot rule out the possibility of “careless smoking.” The cost of damage was estimated to be $5,000.
Motel occupants were allowed to return to their rooms after the fire, and no other rooms were affected by the flames, the department said.
The downtown hotel fire comes as Las Vegas and Clark County authorities are examining the safety of hotels and motels throughout the Las Vegas Valley in light of the deadly Alpine Motel Apartments fire on Dec. 21. Six were killed in the early-morning blaze at the downtown motel, making it the deadliest fire in city history.
The city of Las Vegas said this week it is commencing a proactive inspection and enforcement plan for apartments and similar properties. Clark County officials are building a database of apartment complexes in their jurisdiction that keeps track of fire protection at each, including notes on whether the complex has fire sprinklers and interconnected smoke alarms.