RENO (AP) – Reno police went from house to house in the middle of the night, knocking on doors and telling residents they had to evacuate as a fire nearly 400 hectares raged in rugged terrain , destroyed homes and injured some people.
A man suffered a fatal heart attack during the evacuation. A spokesman for the City of Reno confirmed the man died after leaving her home Friday morning.
Around 9500 people from the edge of the town were evacuated from the path of the huge forest fire and the local fire chief said the fire could rage until Saturday.
BLOG: Updates from the Reno Gazette-Journal
Authorities said 20 homes were lost, many people suffered from smoke inhalation and one person suffered a cardiac arrest in the fire that started around 0:30 in the Caughlin Ranch area and radiant orange on the side of the mountain through the night.
Firefighters do not know what does.
“The whole mountain was on fire,” said Dick Hecht, Spring Mountain Road resident who escaped with his wife for a shopping center and later to Reno High School after waking to the smell of heavy smoke around 1:30
The view from the windows of his house was “the great red light,” said Hecht. “It was so smoky that I could hardly see.”
The couple tried to return before dawn at home, but were repulsed by strong winds, Hecht said.
“I could not even stand up. It was like a tornado,” he said.
Hecht has suddenly erupted in flames 100 feet into the neighborhood, and the retired couple has reduced the mountain again with flames burning within 40 yards from his vehicle.
Firefighters said they are taking a hard time getting over the flames that were whipped up in high winds and gusts to 60 mph.
“This fire will not come out any time soon,” said Reno Fire Chief Michael Hernandez.
Federal Emergency Management Agency has declared a major disaster in a fire.
Ninety schools were closed the roads clear of traffic today and the first nursing school in the way. About 125 crew members are fighting blaze, dubbed the Fire Caughlin.
Two high schools are used as shelters for hundreds of families who fled their homes. Officials have set up sites for animal shelters and livestock, and school buses are waiting to facilitate egress.
Evacuated families were hit by fire.
“I think it was an earthquake,” Daria Thorp told the Reno Gazette-Journal. “We could see from our window. … Then I could see both sides. It ‘was all around us.”
Reno resident Kathy Harrah said he was in panic when an officer knocked on his door in the middle of the night. He ordered his son a computer RIP to a wall and load items from home in his truck, and to evacuate.
“I saw the fire all night,” said Harrah in Reno Gazette-Journal. “I knew it was going to go so bad.”