Thursday, July 11, 2013 | 6:51 a.m.
A fire early Thursday caused heavy damage to a vacant house downtown, and while fire officials say the official cause is undetermined neighbors told fire investigators that homeless people were staying in the house.
Firefighters were called at 2:29 a.m. to the home at 328 N. 16th St., which is adjacent to the U.S. 95 overpass. Tim Szymanski, spokesman for Las Vegas Fire & Rescue, said heavy flames starting to burn through the roof greeted firefighters at the single-story wood frame house.
It took firefighters about 15 minutes to bring the fire under control. Their main concern was to prevent the fire from spreading to a three-unit apartment building nearly nearly abutting the house on fire, Szymanski said. The apartment building, which was not damaged, was evacuated for a short time; residents were permitted to return after the fire was extinguished.
The fire destroyed the interior of the house, Szymanski said, making it impossible for fire investigators to determine the fire's cause. Neighbors told fire investigators the house had been vacant for a long time and was unsecured. They said homeless people were staying in the house on a regular basis.
Damage to the house was estimated at $50,000.