County firefighters battle another fire at Solaire Apartments; neighbors on edge

LAS VEGAS - Clark County firefighters battled an apartment fire late Thursday night at a complex that has had two other recent fires.

The fire started after 10 p.m. on the 1500 block of Karen Avenue at the Solaire Apartments, near Maryland Parkway and Sahara Avenue.

Flames moved quickly through an eight-plex housing unit trapping some, causing panic.

The night of the fire, resident Margo Hutchison described to 8 News NOW what she witnessed.

"We heard people. She was banging on the window saying, 'Help me, my kids are in here.'  And two men came, and she dropped the kids to them. They caught them. And then she hung out, and they caught her. There were still other families in there, they all jumped down because the stairs were on fire."

Sean Matthews ran from his apartment partially-dressed.

"Me and my wife were sitting down and I had just got out of the shower. My neighbor's son comes over 'Sean, Sean, there's a fire!' OK. I got my shoes on, and the next thing I know I'm grabbing some lady out of the top story apartment. Me and my friend's son, father, just grabbed the lady and her daughter, and just caught them out of mid-air." 

Fifty firefighters responded to the blaze.  Metro Police assisted firefighters with crowd control.

This was the third fire in the Solaire Apartments in about three weeks.  The other two happened right next door. 

Las Vegas apartment complex has history of dangerous fires

All of the apartments are owned by the same company, Westland Real Estate Group.

Residents want to know what management plans to do to prevent this from happening again

"Will there be another fire? That's the question. Will there be another one,” said Tom, a resident.  "The odds of this happening three times in a couple of months. There's something odd about this place. Something weird."

"They really need to dig into this because we pay our rent and gotta live scared and on edge like this," resident Trey Lewis says.

Westland Real Estate Group says because of the recent fires, they've conducted inspections in the last week, checking smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.  They told Channel 8 the safety of residents is top of mind.

However, residents find the company's concerns hard to believe saying they don't feel management has their best interest in mind.  Residents said they received a letter in the last week letting them know they might need a smoke detector from an inspection four months ago, but it's just getting installed now.

Many residents want answers from the company as to why it took so long.

Clark County Fire continues their investigation into the blaze, but in the meantime, Deputy Chief Roy Session says the way the attics are built could have had an affect on how fast the flames spread.

"These happen so fast because of what's called a common attic," Deputy Chief Session said.  "You're chasing your tail pretty quickly on these."

As the Clark County Fire Department works to figure out what started the fire, those living there say they're going to have a hard time sleeping because they feel their safety is at risk.

"I told my partner here, look if there is a fire get everything ready, get our identification, our wallets keys and all that," Tom said. "In case there's a fire we can have everything ready."

For more on how you can file a complaint if you fear for your safety or get a fire inspections go here.


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