The fire was in fact about two blocks away, and this is what it looked like from our back gate on First Street. We walked over to Poplar Street where the fire was, being careful to stay well back and out of the emergency services' way.
I've seen other pictures of this small house totally engulfed in flames. By the time we got over there, the fire was mostly out, but the smoke was still heavy. Even so, you could feel the residual heat from where we were standing.
We know this house slightly. It's on one of our common walking routes. A month or so ago, we were out walking on a windy evening and noticed that a bunch of roof shingles were blowing off. I went up and knocked on the door and told the man who answered about it. He said it was the landlord's responsibility and shrugged. Hm, okay. I know I'd be more concerned about holes in my roof even if I was renting. But it's moot now.
North Lyon County Fire Protection District firefighters and the mutual aid from Pyramid Lake and Storey County knocked down the fire. This view was after they brought a fan in to try and blow as much smoke out of the house as possible. The ventilator on the roof was spinning madly, shooting smoke into the air.
It would be tragic enough under the circumstances, but it turned out to be worse than just property damage. Lisa, talking to the person who lives in the yellow house seen in some of these photos, learned that an older woman who lived in the burned cottage had been pulled from the flames with severe third-degree burns. Comments on Facebook say that it was the woman's son and another passerby who pulled her out, but I do not have independent knowledge on that.
Lyon County Sheriff and Nevada State Police officers cordoned off Main Street (which is also NV-427/Business 80, the connector from I-80 to downtown) to allow this Care Flight helicopter to land next to the Wigwam Restaurant-Casino, around the corner from the burned house.
As I heard the 'copter start to rev up, I turned on the video and shot this footage of them departing the scene and heading west, presumably for Reno. I later read on Facebook that the woman had been removed to the UC Davis Medical Center, which has a good burn unit. I have heard nothing else about her status. I won't say trite things about "thoughts and prayers," but I hope she recovers.
Later than evening, Lisa and I went for a walk after dinner and found a paramedic unit from NLCFPD still sitting in front of the house idling. A woman we recognized (and who recognized us) from the Fire Board meetings came out of the truck and explained that she was a volunteer whose task it was to stand vigil on the building and shoo people away until the building could be inspected to determine the cause. Legally, it's protecting the "chain of evidence," a concept I know from my late uncle, who served with the Sutter County (California) Sheriff's department in roles from patrol officer to Assistant Sheriff and everything in between. After breakfast the next morning the rig was still there, but after lunch I came by again and the vehicle was gone, allowing me to take this picture of the burned out house. I assume the NLCFPD completed their investigation and released the scene. As of this evening, the building had been boarded up.
Comments on Facebook say that an oxygen cylinder exploded; however, I know nothing more about the cause of the fire, and FB comments are often worth what you pay for them. I may be able to learn more at the next fire board meeting.