Neighbor describes night of fatal Ranchos fire |

Neighbor describes night of fatal Ranchos fire

by Kurt Hildebrand
Nevada Appeal News Service

Gardnerville Ranchos resident Jean O’Brien found out about a fire next to her Manhattan Way home when a neighbor knocked on her door Monday night.

O’Brien, a 28-year Carson Valley resident, said she heard the explosion that heralded the fire at 1191 Manhattan.

“When I heard the first explosion, I thought it was a car wreck,” she said. “After a few minutes I told my dog, Sarge, that we should take a look.”

Firefighters responded to the 1,400-square-foot Gardnerville Ranchos home at 9:30 p.m. After extinguishing the fire, they found the body of a male inside. The home is owned by Robert Kellogg, according to the Douglas County Assessor’s Office, but the identity of the victim has not yet been officially determined.

O’Brien, 69, looked out the window, but couldn’t see anything. She said there are trees between her house and the one that was burning which blocked her view of the conflagration occurring right next door.

“I locked the front door and was heading for the bedroom and it couldn’t have been a minute later that I heard a knocking on the front door,” O’Brien said. “There was a man standing there who said ‘I have to get you out.'”

O’Brien replied that she wasn’t going anywhere without Sarge.

“I would have stayed in the house rather than let Sarge stay by himself,” she said.

The man asked if Sarge had a harness, which O’Brien found, and the two with the help of another neighbor crossed her lawn and went to a house two doors down where Sarge was kept with about six other dogs.

O’Brien’s dog was put in the home’s bathroom with some water as firefighters battled the blaze.

“They watered down my house,” O’Brien said. There was no damage to her home or the other neighbor’s homes.

“Those people who watched out for me were fantastic,” O’Brien said. “I’ve got fantastic neighbors. I got to meet them the other night and they were just great.”

Authorities have had to rely on dental records to identify the man who was found dead inside the home after the fire was extinguished, according to Sgt. Tom Mezzetta of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.

Fire investigators have been working at the scene of the fire since Monday. They expected to have their investigation completed on Thursday, according to East Fork Fire & Paramedic Districts Capt. Terry Taylor.

Taylor said that because there was a death, the report will be forwarded to the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office.