Apartment fires

Massive fire at apartment complex under construction in southwest Las Vegas reinforces critical importance of NFPA 241

Caption: Smoldering damage left on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, after a fire tore through an apartment complex under construction in southwest Las Vegas. (Photo: Clark County Fire Department)

A massive structure fire occurred at an apartment complex under construction in the southwest Las Vegas valley last week, resulting in an estimated $25 to $30 million in property damage.

According to local news sources, strong winds blew embers around the neighborhood, leading to reports of small fires outside the complex. Crews put out fires in trees, garbage bins and other parts of the surrounding area as far as a quarter mile from the complex. No injuries were reported, but local officers helped evacuate about 50 homes as crews responded to the fire.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, with the Clark County Fire Investigations Division requesting assistance from ATF.

NFPA statistics show that three of every four fires in structures under construction involved residential properties. Cooking equipment is the leading cause of fires on construction sites, while electrical distribution and lighting equipment was the leading cause of fires in structures under major renovation.

Like the many fires that have occurred at buildings under construction over the past few years, the incident that occurred last week in Nevada reinforces the critical value of NFPA 241, Standard for Safeguarding Construction, Alteration, and Demolition Operations, which provides requirements to mitigate the factors that often contribute to these types of incidents.

NFPA offers a series of resources around buildings under construction to help contractors, building owners and managers, code official and enforcers, and AHJs better understand the requirements and guidelines within NFPA 241, and to more effectively ensure that all parties involved in the construction process have the tools and support to adequately adhere to them.

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Susan McKelvey
Communications Manager

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