Fire inspectors from Reno Fire were uncertain as to what caused the second fire in two days in the small suburb of Reno. Crews faced desperate conditions of low humidity, reaching 11 percent, and high winds, with regular gusts that blew the dry, brown grass and dirt across the road.
Five agencies responded to the scene. Desperate homeowners helped one another by carrying armfuls of belongings from the homes of those evacuated nearby, sheltering pets of neighbors and lending a hand where they could.
Fire crews, worried about flare ups, intended to work through the night to ensure that no other house caught fire in the closely built neighborhood.
Nevada Energy trucks responded immediately to shut down power to nearby homes and other utilities were disabled.
The fire came one night after a massive accidental blaze wiped out a mobile property, cars, shelters and belongings of a family on Chocolate Drive, just a few miles away. The woman who owned that property unfortunately received burns to her arms after attempting to rescue her cats that perished in the fire. The metal and debris continued to smolder Monday from the Chocolate Drive Fire.
Northern Nevada remains under a Red Flag warning, meaning the area is in critical fire danger until 10 p.m. Monday.
The winds remained gusty with 26 mph sustained winds out of the northwest. Weather forecasters expected temperatures to cool off to 79 Tuesday for Washoe Valley with breezy conditions.
People are being asked to stay away from the area of Monday’s fire for their own safety.
Don Busby, who lives a few blocks away, said he heard the windows start popping out. The fire started, as far as he could see, at about 4 p.m.
“I hope nobody is hurt,” Busby said.
One young teen was running, shaking as she left the scene, saying she worrying about her best friend who was staying at the house next door to the home that exploded in flames.
“They can’t get out,” said Autumn Bartley, 14. “She’s my best friend, she’s like my sister.”
Tears started to form in the corner of her eyes.
Bartley was running away from the cul-du-sac that was quickly catching fire and spreading it from home to home.
“They’re trying to get them out,” she said.
The cluster of mobile homes in the neighborhood came to life as people scrambled from their homes to help one another.
Those in immediate danger within the cul-du-sac were assisted by fire responders pushing them over fences, said Arlene Friensen. She and her husband, Wesley, lived two houses away from a home that was destroyed.
“He’s helping and checking,” she said of her husband. “The firemen got me out over the back fence of my property.”
Friensen was most worried about the two elderly resident who lived in the house between hers and the one that first caught fire and was destroyed. She watched as the home of the elderly residents flickered and went up in flames.
“I hope they’re not home now,” she said. “I didn’t see their car.”
Lyndsey Killgore, who lived up the street from the blaze, said she was helping move the animals away from the home.
“I’m helping more animals,” Kilgore said.
She was with a man, who assisted her in getting a camper to shelter the animals.
Some homeowners were atop their homes quickly hosing their roofs down with water, angry with any newcomers who were standing nearby and not helping the desperate situation.
As one home began to flicker into a smoldering mess, the next home blew up into a mass of dark smoke and flames as tall as the tops of trees surrounding it.