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Negligent homicide case moves forward concerning Las Vegas's deadliest residential fire

Alpine Motel Apartment Fire
Posted at 9:14 PM, Mar 08, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-09 09:26:17-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — As the civil case surrounding the Alpine Motel Apartment fire, the deadliest residential fire in Las Vegas Fire and Rescue history, wrapped up Wednesday, the criminal case against former co-owners Adolfo Orozco and Malinda Mier moved forward.

At the first preliminary hearing on negligent homicide charges connected to the fire, held more than three years after it happened, prosecutors questioned Fire Marshal Robert Nolan about the code violations found within the building in the ensuing investigation.

"I counted 57 over both days," Nolan said.

"57 fire code violations? Is that a yes?" the prosecutor responded.

"Yes, over both days," Nolan answered.

Prosecutors then honed in on who was responsible for addressing those violations before disasters occur.

"The owner is ultimately responsible," Nolan said.

"For what?"

"For maintenance of his property," Nolan said. "For all the conditions."

In 2019, in the days after the fire, Mier claimed she believed the building was up to code.

"From my understanding, yes it is," she said. "Like I said, we have code enforcement and the health department come out. Everything that needs fixed gets fixed in a timely manner."

Orozco's and his attorneys refused comment after the hearing, but, in court, Attorney Austin Barnum highlighted the number of apartments two code inspectors were tasked with checking for safety violations leading up to the deadly fire.

MORE: Settlement reached in lawsuit over Alpine Motel Fire that killed 6 people in downtown Las Vegas

"Was it over a thousand?" Barnum asked.

Nolan responded, "My recollection is we thought there was, based on archive records, we thought there was around 2,000 apartment buildings. We found 6,000 in Ward 3 alone."

Barnum also focused on the years long history of inspections of the property to draw a picture of compliance with regulators.

Investigators have said, among other issues, a bolted rear door to the complex and a malfunctioning fire alarm may have contributed to the fire's high death toll.

The case is scheduled to continue with three days of preliminary hearings on March 27, 28, and 29.