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Reno Hotel Fire Kills 1, Injures 31

November 1, 2006

RENO, Nev. (AP) _ Fire swept through a three-story hotel in Reno’s downtown casino district, killing one person and injuring more than 30 others. Officials said the blaze was suspicious.

A few people jumped to safety from windows as the historic Mizpah Hotel burned. Firefighters used ladders to help others down, and city workers who were in the area joined the effort with a cherry picker they had been using to change light bulbs.

Police estimated 60 to 80 people were in the brick Mizpah, a primarily residential hotel that had been recently renovated.

The fire broke out about 10 p.m. Tuesday, and firefighters were still dousing hot spots early Wednesday.

It was too early to say what caused the blaze, but it was considered suspicious, said Fire Department spokesman Steve Frady. He said the hotel was equipped with smoke alarms but did not have sprinklers, which was allowed by city code because of the building’s age.

Third-floor resident John Hicks said he saw one person jump from a window and land on a metal trash bin.

``I lost my clothes, I lost everything. It spread so fast I could have died,″ Hicks told the Reno Gazette-Journal. ``The flames were getting into my room. I’m lucky to be alive.″

The Mizpah was built in 1922 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.

``It was just gorgeous, and now it’s all gone,″ said general manager Sharon Steele.

In addition to the one person killed, 31 people were injured, some when they jumped from windows, Frady said.


Associated Press writer Tom Gardner contributed to this report.

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