Published Friday, Nov. 8, 2013 | 8:50 a.m.
Updated Friday, Nov. 8, 2013 | 9:31 a.m.
A man who was hanging from a burning building and let go just before firefighters could get a ladder to him suffered minor burns and a possible fracture in the fall, Las Vegas Fire & Rescue officials said.
Firefighters rescued three other people early today from the abandoned downtown building, which has caught fire three times since September, fire department spokesman Tim Szymanski said.
Firefighters responded about 1 a.m. to the vacant Fremont Assisted Living Center building, 100 S. 14th St., after reports of smoke in the area.
Black smoke was coming from a window on the third floor and a man was hanging outside the window by his hands, Szymanski said. Firefighters grabbed a ladder to put up to the man, but he fell just before they got there, he said.
Firefighters found three other people in the building and got them out. None of them appeared injured, Szymanski said.
The man who fell told fire investigators he was sleeping in the room and woke up to find bedding material on fire, Szymanski said.
He threw a mattress down hoping to fall on it when he jumped from the window, but he missed, Szymanski said.
The man said he had candles in the room, and investigators also found a can of Sterno, which can be used for cooking, Szymanksi said. Investigators believe the fire was accidental, he said.
Firefighters put out the fire in a few minutes. Damage was estimated at $5,000.
It was the third fire in the building since September, all of them on the third floor. The first one was ruled an arson.
After each fire, the building was boarded up to keep people out, Szymanski said.
Firefighters also found that someone had stretched a wire from a room on the third floor to a power pole in the alley, he said. Someone must have climbed the pole and appeared to be stealing power, he said.