Boy in critical condition after apartment fire

GARDNERVILLE -- Cody Collins, 10, is in the pediatric intensive care unit in Las Vegas' University Medical Center burn unit after being pulled from a Gardnerville apartment fire Thursday.

Cody was the third person pulled out of the apartment by Minden's John Scott, who drove by the rental at 1491 Highway 395 about 9:50 a.m. and saw smoke streaming from the roof.

According to Cody's cousin, Shane Collins, a South Lake Tahoe resident and emergency medical technician, Cody suffers from first- and second-degree burns to his face, hands and arms.

"The good thing right now is he is not feeling any pain," said Shane, who flew to Las Vegas. "They've got wires out of every part of his body. He's intubated," meaning tubes in his lungs are helping him breathe. "They're trying to get fluids from his lungs ... They're worried about his breathing. He's not out of the woods yet."

Scott, who had passed the two-story home while traveling south, turned his vehicle around and went toward the back of the two-story building. He found a stairwell that led to the second-story apartment.

Two stores on the first floor, Active Nails and Mary's Hair Conspiracy, were empty.

Others from local businesses, such as Woodett's Diner, had gathered.

"Everybody was there," Scott said. "That's what makes this a great place to live."

Scott, a State Farm agent, said when he ran up the stairs the door was hot to the touch and he was concerned about breaking down the door; but he did.

Scott pulled out three people slumped on the other side: first, Rick Collins, Cody's 44-year-old dad; second, Jenny Collins, a 19-year-old; and, third, Cody.

He said Rick, Jenny and Cody suffered from smoke inhalation and burns and could not stand.

People formed a chain down the outside stairwell, passing the injured down.

Rick Collins' niece, 15-year-old Tina Ellington, had run from the apartment earlier yelling "fire," and alerting people.

According to East Fork Fire and Paramedic Districts Captain and Investigator Terry Taylor, Rick, Jenny and Tina are at Washoe Medical Center in Reno. Rick is in the intensive care unit. Jenny is stable in the orthopedic ward and Tina is in pediatric ICU.

Taylor said it will be several days before he is able to talk to the victims to determine any further causes because of their conditions.

Deputy Fire Chief and Fire Marshal Steve Eisele said the fire was accidental.

"It started in a room off the kitchen, in the laundry room," he said. "We're still looking into the causes. We need to find out what equipment was running."

Eisele said the apartment is destroyed. The downstairs stores have severe water damage, he said.

Donations of clothing, dishes, silverware, towels, or anything that can be given to the family, which lost everything, should be dropped off at 1489 Highway 395 at John D. Limb's Office.

A savings account has been established at the Bank of America for the Collins family, account number 004965603166.

Eisele said the home is 80 to 100 years old. New homes have sheetrock that can be pulled away fairly easily.

You can help

A savings account has been established at the Bank of America for the Collins family, account number 004965603166. Donations of household goods may be dropped off at John D. Limb's office, 1489 Highway 395.


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