MAY 5 UPDATE: The Clark County coroner has ruled on the cause of death for 61-year-old Lynne Cassella. She died from inhalation of products of combustion. She was also burned. Her death was ruled an accident.
The Clark County Fire Department says the most likely cause of a deadly fire at a central Las Vegas apartment complex Tuesday morning is "improper discarding of smoking materials," though the investigation remains ongoing.
The Clark County coroner later identified the deceased as 61-year-old Lynne Cassella from Las Vegas. Her cause of death is pending.
Firefighters were called to the complex located at 3651 Arville Street, just north of Twain Avenue, at about 10:50 a.m. Authorities say one person died and three others were injured.
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"We’ve had fires in this apartment complex" CCFD Battalion Chief Ryan Glassford said.
"It’s challenging for our men and women when they respond due to the layout and the very confined spaces of the apparatus," said Glassford. "Based on the size of the fire when we arrived, this is as good as an outcome from a fire perspective that we could’ve asked for."
— KTNV 13 Action News (@KTNV) March 9, 2021
Multiple units responded to the scene with Clark County reporting more than 24 firefighters at one point inside the apartment complex.
"We thought it was a fire drill," said Rodney Bently, who lives in the building. "They do a really good job with fire drills here. A couple of weeks ago they had one, so my wife immediately thought the hose is coming out again. It's another fire drill."
"Finally, our next-door neighbor banged on the door and told us it was a real fire and to get out of the apartment," said Bently. "Blaze and flames came pouring out the roof. It just got worse and worse."
Seeing smoke near the Las #Vegas Strip? This may be the reason. @ClarkCountyFD is fighting a 2 alarm apartment fire in the area of Arville and Twain. More than 2 dozen firefighters on scene. pic.twitter.com/2el5DA5uga
— Clark County Nevada (@ClarkCountyNV) March 9, 2021
Crews say the fire reached the attic and that once that happens, it spreads pretty quickly. Still, firefighters say there were able to get to the roof to fight the fire, keeping it confined to unit 42.
The roof collapsed in the building, CCFD says. Surrounding units appear to have minor damage but four connecting units were still evacuated.
Initial loss estimates range between $500,000 to $1 million, according to the agency.
Watch an update from officials around noon:
This is what the scene looked like while it remained active after the initial call:
Stay with 13 Action News for further updates on this developing story