SWAT team at home that caught fire
RENO (AP) – Firefighters, guarded by police SWAT teams, battled a blaze at a home for hours Tuesday in an upscale Reno neighborhood where sheriff’s deputies reported shots were fired when they tried to serve an eviction notice.
Washoe County Sheriff’s spokesman Armando Avina said at least one man was in the home when the fire broke out about 10:40 a.m. Authorities had no contact with him after that or any information about his condition, but he was believed to still be there Tuesday evening despite significant fire and smoke damage to the home in a gated community near Lakeside Golf Course.
SWAT teams from both the sheriff’s office and Reno police surrounded the home to make sure no one shot at the firefighters, he said. He said the home’s windows have been boarded up.
The fire was out by 5:30 p.m. but authorities said crews would have to shore up the structure to ensure it was safe to enter and didn’t know how long that would take.
Police sent a robot into the home with a thermal imager “to see exactly what we’ve got in there,” city spokesman Michelle Anderson said. They were awaiting processing of the robot’s data late Tuesday.
Deputies reported shots were fired when they identified themselves at the door about 10:40 a.m, Avina said.
Several neighbors said they heard gunshots or small explosions before the fire sent flames 50 feet into the air.
“I heard a bang, a boom and shortly after that I heard sirens,” Susan Huckabay said. She said she didn’t know the people who live in the burning home, but said the house was “under distress” and the owner faced foreclosure.
A stretch of McCarran Boulevard, a major thoroughfare that circles the city, was closed for more than four hours before reopening about 4 p.m. Side streets around the home remained closed, but residents who had been evacuated were allowed to go home.
The newspaper reported that its foreclosure database indicated the property was in foreclosure as of July 1, but Avina said he could not confirm that.
The Washoe County Assessor’s website shows the house is listed as owned by Lake Shores Trust. It was listed as sold for $267,100 on July 1 with a taxable value of the property listed as $354,000.