A teenager playing with matches started a house fire in West Carson City on Sunday afternoon, witnesses said. The house was not totally destroyed, and no one was hurt.
An unidentified neighbor was mowing his lawn when he realized the house next door, 707 W. Fifth St., was on fire.
"I ran inside and helped get the kids out. They were all running around yelling 'Fire!'" he said. "The cabinets and drapes were on fire. I got my two fire extinguishers, but they didn't do a lick of good. It was really hot."
There were five children outside and three dogs inside the house when it started at about 4 p.m., according to another witness. No adults were home. A 14-year-old boy who lives there told one neighbor he had lit a piece of paper on fire then thrown it down, and it started the house on fire.
Flames quickly spread up the walls and into the attic. Neighbors used garden hoses to douse the house.
Carson City firefighters cut two holes in the roof with chain saws at 4:30. Thick yellow smoke and flames leapt out.
"When we were on our way there, we saw a tremendous amount of smoke so we knew we had something going," said Carson City Fire Department Battalion Chief Dan Shirey.
He said the house was repairable.
The next-door house, 701 W. Fifth St., lost part of its fence and some belongings.
"Look, Mom, the Stair Master is smoking," said Robert Reil, 12.
"Don't touch it, honey," said his mom, homeowner Susan Furlong-Reil. "We're very, very fortunate it wasn't any worse. Very, very fortunate."
The column of smoke so close to downtown drew a crowd of onlookers.
"I'd like to kick the kid (who was playing with matches) up one side and down the other," said neighbor Charliene Turner. "We've had too much fire."
The blaze was being mopped up by 4:50 p.m.
Contact Karl Horeis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1219.