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May 4, 2015

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Boy killed in fire was playing with brother inside vacant home


Brian Nordli

Fire crews arrived about 4:25 p.m. to a fire at a home in the 2300 block of Howard Drive, near Eastern Avenue and Oakey Boulevard.

Updated Friday, May 3, 2013 | 1 a.m.

Click to enlarge photo

Fire crews arrived about 4:25 p.m. to a fire at a home in the 2300 block of Howard Drive, near Eastern Avenue and Oakey Boulevard.

Fatal fire

A boy ran out of a burning vacant home Thursday afternoon screaming. His clothes were on fire and his brother was trapped inside.

Several neighbors surrounding the home on the 2300 block of Howard Drive — a residential street off Fremont Street and Eastern Avenue — saw the fire about 4:25 p.m. and alerted Las Vegas Fire and Rescue, fire spokesman Tim Szymanski said.

Fire trucks and emergency vehicles pulled up to the burning home. The boy stood outside with burned arms, insisting his brother was still inside, Szymanski said.

It was too late.

Firefighters fought through the flames and found the boy lying on the floor of the workshop, Szymanski said.

Earlier that day the brothers and two other boys had been running in and out of the unlocked vacant home setting off fireworks, Szymanski said. A group of them then gathered in the workshop attached to the carport to set small items on fire.

They planned to watch the flames consume smaller items, and then, they assumed, flicker out. But the flames kept growing.

They panicked and tried to extinguish it with an unknown liquid in the workshop, Szymanski said. The fire flashed, and the flames intensified.

Two boys at the door escaped without injury. One boy’s clothes were caught by the flames, and the smallest boy was unable to escape, Szymanski said.

Firefighters extinguished the flames quickly, Szymanski said. The boy, who suffered burns, was transported to University Medical Center with burns on his arms and legs.

The fire caused about $75,000 in damage. Hours later, neighbors gawked at the charred remains of the home from their front yards and street corners, whispering about the incident. Some wondered aloud if it was the brothers they had seen running through the neighborhood, ding-dong ditching and riding their scooters.

The Clark County Coroner’s Office will determine the identity of the boy after next-of-kin has been notified.

Fire investigators ruled the fire accidental. This is the fourth fire fatality this year in las Vegas.

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  1. Great job parents. Keep up the good work.

  2. How old were these kids? And where were there parents.

    That whole area is blighted.

  3. 'Earlier that day the brothers and two other boys had been running in and out of the unlocked vacant home setting off fireworks, Szymanski said. A group of them then gathered in the workshop attached to the carport to set small items on fire.'

    There should be a task unit for unoccupied homes in the valley, that go around and make sure structures are secure so vagrants, vandals, and thieves dont wander in and out of them.

    I'm appalled.

  4. AshleyAshley,

    Yes, there should be someone checking on vacant homes around town. Neighbors should be calling the into code enforcement everyday.

    My question would be though who is going to pay for all this and the cost of securing them?

  5. Vegaslee, Las Vegas needs a real 'come to Jesus' meeting about it's budget, especially North Las Vegas. If the new NLV mayor cant make financial ends meet the city will be put under an 'emergency financial manager' similar to Detroit.

    The idea is always wildly unpopular when people who work for the city fear budget cuts, but the problem is that no one in the city is willing to look at things from an objective perspective and say too much money here, not enough there and move things around. If there were a third party financial manager who didn't have any loyalties or leanings, but just looked at it from a budget perspective I think the money would start flowing in a more evenly distributed way. And yes, that may mean lay offs, budget cuts, etc.

    When you have a city so desperate about money that they're willing to listen to a company that wants the city to place eminent domain on occupied know they're desperate. But they're not looking internally themselves.

    Vegas has a lot of cleaning up to do with what's already here. We can build new buildings all day long, but the existing structures are causing a lot of problems with vacancy and decay. We can see this from this story, to Key Largo Casino that caught on fire. The building had been vacant and decaying for years.

    We have to start demanding more from the city about the issues of empty buildings and infrastructure decay. From schools, to homes, to empty business. How many fires can we have because of decay or vagrants? You know it's sad, because they're mostly accidental and unintentional...but the truth is the structures have been abandaned for so long, you see an insurance replacement cost and you not for the quality it was at the time, it seems wrong because the cost to rebuild is higher than the POS structure that was left their to nature and human devices over time.

    I dont think Vegas is a lost cause, but if we continue to ignore what we have the problems will fester.

  6. The problem when it comes to "city money" is that everyone has an idea how it should be spent. Mostly on the cause they are behind.

    I understand what you are saying but fact is the city and the government in general is not there to solve all the ills of life.

    Yes, private property owners should have to keep their property in a safe and secure manner.

    Chances are someone hotshot lawyer will be contacting the parents of these children and explaining how it is the property owners fault. Either way the property owner is going to get hit big on costs to either settle or defend.

    We can not ask the city or any government to do everything for us. There used to be something in this country called personal responsibility and that has to come back or we will see this whole country crumble.

    Lots of questions on this one and we have no facts. Some of the homes in that old area are nice, owned by those that have lived there for years and they take care of them. Others have become an eyesore. Who is to say how you keep your home though? The government?

  7. Vegaslee, there are codes in cities much like HOA's have codes for residences, it depends where the city wants to put it's focus. But seeing how the entire valley has a major occupancy problem in homes right now, it would seem like something to have time and energy invested in.

    The article of this title is so misleading too.....'playing with brother' should read as 'setting things on fire with sibling and other youths.' How old were these unmonitored children? And the article suggests they were seen entering other homes? Good job neighborhood watch.