RENO — A massive fire has destroyed part of a high-end apartment complex under construction, sending flames and smoke hundreds of feet into the air but causing no injuries, officials said Thursday.
A nearby trailer park was evacuated for several hours before residents were allowed to return.
Investigators are asking anyone show saw the blaze in its early stages to contact authorities as they search for a cause.
As many as 22 of about 36 buildings that were either built or under construction at the development, called The Alexander at South Virginia, were destroyed in the overnight Wednesday fire, said Reno Fire Department spokesman Steve Frady.
Frady said it’s not clear what started the blaze, which was first reported just before midnight Wednesday. Because of the fire’s size, it may take until next week to find a cause, he said, adding that it’s too early to say whether it is suspicious.
"It’s going to be awhile before we get close to finding out the case," Frady told the Reno Gazette-Journal. "We treat every fire like a crime scene, and through the process of elimination, we get to a point where we can determine if a fire was accidental or arson. Right now, we’re just not there."
Heavy smoke from the fire shut down U.S. 395 for a few hours overnight and officers also closed Old Virginia Road and South Virginia Street.
On Thursday firefighters were putting out hotspots and smoldering debris at the scene.
The blaze’s intensity forced firefighters to back off at least three times and destroyed the windshield and melted plastic parts of the first fire engine that responded. More than 65 firefighters and officials, eight structure fire engines, two ladder trucks and other equipment responded to the scene.
Fire officials say the fact that some of parts of the complex were under construction — with wood frames exposed — contributed to the quick spread of the fire.
The Reno fire and police departments have requested help from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives because of the size of the fire.
Officials with the complex developer, Stockton, Calif.-based A.G. Spanos Cos., said Thursday they plan to rebuild portions of the complex.
Certificates of occupancy had been issued for at least four buildings, and people were scheduled to move in next month, Frady said.Reno apartment fire