Four injured in Gardnerville fire
April 25, 2003
GARDNERVILLE — Passers-by helped rescue four people Thursday morning from a burning apartment before flames shot through the roof.
All four, ages 11 to 42, were taken to medical centers, some with apparently serious injuries. Their names were not available.
Smoke streaming from the roof of the second-story apartment caught the eye of Minden resident John Scott as he drove along Gardnerville’s main street about 10 a.m.
“Smoke was coming out of the woodwork,” said Scott, a State Farm agent.
He said several people gathered at a stairwell at the back of the building at 1491 Highway 395.
When Scott reached the door of the second-floor apartment it was hot but unlocked. He made the decision to open it, he said.
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The apartment was full of smoke and Scott got down on his knees. A train of people formed outside on the stairwell as Scott pulled out three residents who had collapsed near the door.
The victims were covered with blankets and taken to local medical facilities. At least one of the injured was taken to Washoe Medical Center.
Scott said he pulled out a young male, an adult male and a female. Another female was either pulled out later or had run out earlier, according to conflicting reports gathered at the scene.
“There were four victims — two male and two female, ages 11 to 42 — occupying the building,” East Fork Fire and Paramedic District Deputy Fire Chief Tod Carlini said.
Roxanne Burton, who works for an accounting firm nearby, ran out of her office to help.
She saw what looked like first- and second-degree burns as she helped the injured down the stairs to safety, Burton said.
Scott also said the victims appeared to have suffered burns and were were unable to stand from smoke inhalation when he pulled them out.
Many people gathered to help, said Scott, who was given oxygen at the scene.
“Everybody was there,” he said. “That’s what makes this a great place to live.”
The fire was reported to dispatchers at 10:06 a.m. Carlini said it took 20 minutes to knock down the fire. The cause and estimates of damage were not yet known.
Highway 395 was disrupted for most of the day as traffic was detoured through Gardnerville.
Firefighters knocked out the glass in the upstairs windows for easier access and ventilation and by 2:30 p.m. were “in the final phases of mop-up,” Carlini said. No fire personnel were injured.
The fire was contained to the second floor.
John D. Limb Ltd. , an accounting firm, owns the building. Its offices are just south, at 1489 Highway 395. Swift Real Estate rents the front of the damaged building and Active Nails and Mary’s Hair Conspiracy operate in the first floor.