Squatters cause more issues for residents of downtown Las Vegas townhomes in massive June fire

Published: Nov. 16, 2022 at 11:15 PM PST
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - Over the summer Las Vegas firefighters battled what they said was the biggest fire within city limits in a quarter century. Now as winter weather sets in neighbors whose homes were left standing say the complex on Fremont near Charleston is becoming a hotbed for squatters.

“It’s almost like a target,” resident Gilleum Perez-Marcoux said. “It’s prone to vagrants. I’m empathetic to them. It’s tough out here being in the cold, but we’ve got to worry about our safety. There’s a lot families here that are relying on these fences to keep them safe, but it’s definitely not.”

Perez-Marcoux captured a video earlier this month of a fire that broke out in an empty townhome that was burned in the June fire.

“I look over and it’s just this enormous flame on top of the roof,” Perez-Marcoux said.

The residents said people are hopping the fences, squatting and stealing from the unoccupied homes and attempting to break into others.

“It is like a free for all show for everyone around us. We live day to day here worrying about another fire,” Matalie Avila said. “It seems like because we’re on Charleston, we’re here on Fremont nothing’s being done.”

The residents would like to see more security and better barriers to keep others out of the gated community.

“We’re still living this like hell right now,” Avila said. “I have two kids and the last thing I want is they can’t even play out here in their own private property neighborhood.”

There are still at least 10 units that are unlivable from the summer fire. The fire department has not released an official cause of that fire, but people that live here told FOX5 they believe it was started by homeless that were near townhomes under construction.