Arson cause of Reno brush fire |

Arson cause of Reno brush fire

The Associated Press

RENO (AP) – Fire investigators determined Wednesday that arson was the cause of a brush fire that destroyed six homes and said they were continuing to follow up on reports that juveniles were seen leaving the area about the time the blaze broke out Monday.

“All cases are investigated as if they are arson,” said Reno Fire spokesman Steve Frady. “They go through a process of elimination, and when they eliminate accidental ignition sources, they begin a criminal case.”

Fire investigators started distributing fliers in the neighborhood Tuesday asking for help in the case.

“There is a lot of groundwork to be done – a lot of interviews to be conducted,” he said.

Frady said if they determine at some future point the fire was an accident, then criminal charges for arson may not be pursued. He said fire officials continue to canvass the north Reno neighborhood for more information about the reports regarding the juveniles. He encouraged anyone with any information about the fire to contact local authorities.

“We don’t have any suspects at this time. At a point when the investigation is completed and if a suspect or suspects have been identified, then the case will be sent to the (district attorney) for review,” he said.

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Frady said he did not know if more than one witness had reported seeing the juveniles in a drainage below the hillside where the fire started or how many juveniles had been spotted.

The fire started just before 3 p.m. in sagebrush and dry grass and quickly burned up to 2 acres as it made its way into homes just east of Highway 395.

Officials ordered residents to evacuate the neighborhood for several blocks around the fire before getting the fire under control.

There were no serious injuries reported, although two firefighters were treated at the scene for heat exhaustion, and a third suffering from smoke inhalation was taken to a Reno hospital to be checked out as a precaution.