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September 20, 2019

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Fire might have burned for hours undetected, officials say

Office Building Fire on Paradise

Wade Vandervort

Firefighters work to extinguish a fire at an office building on Paradise Road on Monday, June 17, 2019.

Updated Monday, June 17, 2019 | 4:26 p.m.

Office Building Fire on Paradise

Firefighters work to extinguish a fire at an office building on Paradise Road on Monday, June 17, 2019. Launch slideshow »

A fire that heavily damaged a large office building east of the Strip might have been burning in the attic for hours before anyone noticed, according to the Clark County Fire Department.

The fire was reported about 3 a.m. today at the two-story building at 3900 Paradise Road, between Twain Avenue and Flamingo Road.

When firefighters arrived, the area was filled with smoke, Fire Chief Greg Cassell said. Crews entered the building but couldn’t locate the fire, he said.

“Finally, the fire blew out of the roof,” Cassell said. “The roof started to fail and then that caused the fire to fall down into the location where our firefighters were operating. From there, they were ordered out of the building by the battalion chief.”

Officials said they didn’t think anyone was in the building when the fire started. Three firefighters are being treated for minor heat-related injured, Cassell said.

Firefighters will be at the scene for the rest of the night and into Tuesday, Cassell said. The county will start selective demolition in the next few hours. Paradise Road should remain open during this process.

The building holds offices for several businesses and organizations, including the Nevada Broadcasters Association.

The second floor was destroyed, and the rest of the building is probably a total loss as well, Cassell said.

More than seven hours after the initial call, which prompted a response by some 100 firefighters, the blaze was still burning. Crews were expected to be on the scene into Tuesday.

Investigators do not know what started the fire but are focusing on a common attic, where a fire could burn and spread for hours without triggering alarms on sprinklers below, Cassell said. Building codes no longer allow attics without firebreaks, he said.

The fire sent a massive plume of smoke over the Strip, and Paradise Road was temporarily shut down in the area, officials said.

Las Vegas Fire & Rescue also responded to the fire.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.