Since 2015, sixteen people have lost their lives in a fire in Las Vegas. Data from the National Fire Reporting System shows that in 2018 Nevada had a rate of 42.8 injuries caused by every 1,000 residential structure fires, much higher than the national average of 25.3 injuries per 1,000 fires. A fire can result in devastating and sometimes life-long injuries, death and severe property damage. Each state has a fire code in place to ensure a building’s safety and prevent serious injuries in case of an emergency.
Las Vegas has a history with serious fire incidents, in 1980 a fire at the MGM Grand resulted in 87 fatalities and 700 people injured, it’s considered to be the second worse hotel fire in the country. A year later in 1981 a fire caused by arson at the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel killed eight people and injured dozens. Recently the city has suffered yet another fire, on December 21, 2019 the Alpine Motel Apartments erupted in flames taking the lives of six guests and injuring 13 people. Inspections after the accident determined that negligence by the building owner and operator caused the fire, Panish Shea & Boyle LLP is currently pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party.
Fires Caused by Negligence and Failed Fire Inspections
The Alpine Motel fire was reportedly caused by a cooking stove used as a heater in absence of an adequate heating system. After the fire, fire inspectors inspected the building floor by floor and found 16 fire code violations including missing smoke alarms, no fire sprinklers, no fire alarm system, missing extinguishers, and the rear exit door was bolted shut from the outside. The owner and operator of the property failed to provide its tenants with safe and habitable living conditions. As a result of their negligence, residents were exposed to unhabitable living conditions, and the risks of an emergency like this were exacerbated instead of mitigated.
Panish Shea & Boyle personal injury attorneys have partnered with data visualization company 1Point21Interactive to create an interactive map showing residential buildings in Las Vegas with fire code violations found in inspections from 2018. The buildings are color-coded depending on how many violations they have, the darker and larger the point is the more violations the building has. Hover over any point to find more information such as the building’s name, address, number of units, number of violations, and date of the inspection. We have also included emergency 911 calls for fires in 2018, this data is shown as green points in the background.
More Findings From the Data
- From the 1,561 buildings studied in the data, 63.35% of them had one or more fire code violations on their 2018 inspection.
- About 35% of buildings presented no violations.
- About 37% of buildings presented over 10 fire code violations.
- After analyzing the data we found that most of the residential buildings with fire code violations are located on Wards 3 and 5.
- Most residential buildings with violations are located in Sunrise Manor, Spring Valley, and North Las Vegas.
- The data shows a total of 4,717 fire code violations.
|Ranking||Building Name||Number of Violations||Number of Units||Address||Zip Code|
|1||Indian Hills Apts Msa||406||484||4550 W. Sahara Ave||89102|
|2||The Breaker Apartments Msa||266||400||9901 W. Sahara Ave||89117|
|3||Playa Vista||129||409||3700 E. Bonanza Rd||89110|
|4||Crossings At Lake Mead-144 Apt, Msa||88||444||1901 N. Jones Blvd||89108|
|4||Crossings At Lake Mead-300 Apt, Msa||88||6||5801 W. Lake Mead Blvd||89108|
|5||Bonanza Gardens Apartments||52||8||2751 E. Bonanza Rd||89101|
|6||Andiamo Apartments Msa||47||192||4600 Vegas Dr||89108|
|6||Red Rock Cove Apts Msa||47||10||5001 Obannon Dr||89146|
|7||Country Club At The Meadows Msa||46||166||300 Promenade Blvd||89107|
|8||Cornerstone Crossing Msa||37||544||6666 W. Washington Ave||89108|
|9||Park Vista Apartments||35||196||1001 N. Pecos Rd||89101|
|10||Stewart Apartments||31||26||320 N. 23Rd St||89101|
|11||Country Club At The Meadows Msa||23||166||300 Promenade Blvd||89107|
|12||Emerald Springs Apartments Msa||17||304||451 N. Nellis Blvd||89110|
|13||Emerald Springs Apartments Msa||16||304||451 N. Nellis Blvd||89110|
|13||Oasis Emerald Msa||16||132||361 N. Nellis Blvd||89110|
|14||Berdowsky Apartments||14||4||6224 Ilanos Ln||89108|
|15||Downtowner Motel||12||128||129 N. 8Th St||89101|
|15||Senator Richard Bryan Apts||12||275||2651 Searles Ave||89101|
|15||Woodom Llc Apartments||12||21||2405 Sunrise Ave||89101|
|15||Villa Monterey Sr. Apts.||12||320||1270 Burnham Ave||89104|
|15||Emma Saakyan Apartments||12||4||6225 Yerba Ln||89108|
|15||Charleston Gardens Apartments||12||12||4810 E. Charleston Blvd||89110|
|15||Triest Court Apartments||12||4||633 Triest Ct||89110|
|16||Gertz Apartments||11||3||700 N. 9Th St||89101|
|16||Koala Apartments||11||50||520 S. Casino Center Blvd||89101|
|16||Mcknight 1Story Senior Village||11||843||651 Mcknight St||89101|
|16||Bellota Llc Apartments||11||4||6249 Bellota Dr||89108|
|16||Charleston Gardens Apartments||11||36||4830 E. Charleston Blvd||89110|
|16||Charleston Gardens Apartments||11||28||4840 E. Charleston Blvd||89110|
|16||Charleston Gardens Apartments||11||20||4870 E. Charleston Blvd||89110|
|16||Charleston Gardens Apartments||11||32||4880 E. Charleston Blvd||89110|
|16||Oasis Emerald Msa||11||132||361 N. Nellis Blvd||89110|
|16||Playa Vista||11||409||3700 E. Bonanza Rd||89110|
|16||Pointe At Centennial Apts||11||94||5900 Sky Pointe Dr||89130|
|17||Mcintyre Apartments||10||3||1834 E. Bonanza Rd||89101|
|17||Greenville Park Apartments||10||5||4183 Tara Ave||89102|
|17||Joseph Bradley Apartments||10||3||1201 Eastwood Dr||89104|
|17||No Name Yet Living||10||92||525 E. St Louis Ave||89104|
|17||Morgan Apartments||10||4||6236 Ilanos Ln||89108|
|17||Yee Apartments||10||4||6245 Bellota Dr||89108|
|17||Charleston Gardens Apartments||10||16||4820 E. Charleston Blvd||89110|
|17||Charleston Gardens Apartments||10||24||4850 E. Charleston Blvd||89110|
|17||Trieste Court Apts||10||1||609 Triest Ct||89110|
|17||Broadstone Talavera||10||27||2251 S. Fort Apache Rd||89117|
|17||Pointe At Centennial Apts||10||374||5850 Sky Pointe Dr||89130|
Common Fire Code Violations
Reports state that the Alpine Motel Apartments hadn’t been inspected since 2017, despite having a history of failed fire inspections for over a decade. Fire inspections are performed to ensure that a building has all the necessary safety equipment and protocols in place to keep residents safe from a potential fire threat. This equipment includes working fire extinguishers, working sprinkle system, working fire alarm, emergency exit doors, clear emergency exit signs, and more. These safety measures help reduce the risk of injuries and death during a fire. Even a single violation of the fire code can result in serious injuries during an emergency.
We reviewed the 2018 fire inspection reports for two buildings in the dataset with the highest amount of fire code violations, Indian Hills Apts with 406 violations, and Playa Vista with 129 violations). Our study found the following as the most common instructions from fire inspectors on standards and equipment that need improvement:
- Provide and/or repair emergency exit sign lighting.
- Service fire extinguishers by a Nevada state licensee.
- Provide smoke alarm for each dwelling unit.
- Repair or replace defective smoke alarms.
- Replace smoke alarms older than 10 years.
- Replace batteries in smoke alarms.
- Provide proper fire extinguishers.
- No combustible storage in mechanical or electrical equipment rooms.
- No barbeques or open flame cooking devices on balconies or within 10 feet of buildings.
- Remove exit obstructions.
- Remove combustible rubbish.
According to the fire inspection report, both Playa Vista and Indian Hills Apartments corrected the fire code violations inspectors found in their buildings.
Expanding Fire Inspection Enforcement
In an effort to prevent these unfortunate accidents, the city of Las Vegas has expanded fire inspection enforcements at apartment buildings and other multi-family housing with a program called the Multi-Family Risk Reduction Program. Regulations in the new program include fines of up to $1,000 per day if irregularities found during the inspection are not corrected and civil penalties increased with each failed inspection.
By comparing the number of fire emergency calls and the amount of fire code violations we can visualize how common a fire emergency is and how vulnerable some buildings are to its risks. As we have learned with previous fires in Las Vegas and recently with the Alpine Motel Fire, fire code violations can pose a serious risk to tenants. We hope this map informs the public about the safety of the buildings in their community and sheds light on a serious issue that could cost innocent lives.