Mark Twain Estates fire leaves couple homeless |

Mark Twain Estates fire leaves couple homeless

Becky Bosshart

MARK TWAIN – Henry Hoppe returned to his home of 30 years after his early morning shift at the Carson Nugget to find his home burned, most of the windows broken out and his four dogs running loose in the neighborhood.

A neighbor reported the fire in the 541 Sam Clemens Ave. home at 11:39 a.m. Monday. Storey County Fire Department Fire Chief Gary Hames said the heat and smoke damage caused a total loss of the home. According to the Storey County Building Department, the loss is estimated at $60,000.

The chief said the fire began in the living room, burned under the floor and into the crawl space.

“Our good neighbors Central Lyon County arrived first on the scene,” Hames said while outside the double-wide mobile home. “The initial attack (on the fire) came at 11:50 a.m., which was about 11 minutes after the 911 call.”

The Storey County Fire Department arrived three minutes later, Hames said. Firefighters pulled out one cat and released the dogs outside to safety. The fire was contained with about 700 gallons of water. He said the quick response could be credited to cooperation with Central Lyon County Fire Chief John Gillenwater.

Joe Curtis, chief of the Storey County Volunteer Fire Department Virginia City district, said the fire started from an electric wall plug.

Hoppe stood on Sutro Springs Road outside the home cradling a black cat, which he said was his wife’s pet.

“Right now I can’t think,” Hoppe said while staring at the blackened left side of his home. His dogs escaped from a torn-down section of the back yard fence. Burger, a shy mutt, nervously paced near his master. “I’m in shock. I have no idea how it started.”

Hoppe said his wife, Armida, was getting dialysis when she was told that her house was on fire. The couple has insurance, but the fire chief said he doesn’t believe the insurance will cover the entire loss.

The Hoppes have two daughters who live near by. He has worked in the Nugget’s shipping and receiving department for 30 years. The fire chief said The American Red Cross was not called because the couple will stay with one of their daughters.

The fire broke out less than a mile from the Six Mile Canyon Fire Department, which is a volunteer fire station.

Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at or 881-1212.