UPDATE: The three-alarm fire on Jan. 19 is now being investigated as an arson.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives spokesman Patrick Gorman said the fire at The Ely, located at 5055 South Fort Apache, was intentional.
Authorities are offering $10,000 as a reward for information leading to an arrest.
“Arson is a dangerous act of violence posing as a significant threat to the community. The fire caused extensive damage and could have tragically resulted in serious injury or loss of life,” Gorman said.
In addition to the Clark County Fire Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ San Francisco Field Division, a team of 25 special agents were deployed to help investigate the cause of the fire.
“The NRT (National Response Team) is composed of special agents and personnel including certified fire investigators, forensic mapping specialists, accelerant detection K-9 teams, fire protection engineers, electrical engineers forensic chemists, and certified explosive specialists,” Gorman said.
Nef Montalvo lives at the apartment complex roughly 30 yards away from the complex. He took cellphone video of what it looked like outside his door when he and his family evacuated that night.
In the video, he described feeling the heat of the fire. As he evacuated, he said he thought there was a 50% chance he’d lose his home.
“The embers were hitting the corner over here at this apartment which is right near the fire so we thought for sure it was just going to come over so we just tried to get out as quick as possible,” Montalvo said.
Neighbors in his complex said the lights on their cars were slightly melted.
Montalvo said he hopes someone comes forward with information for the reward.
“Everyone could use some extra money. You know if you know someone- you put lives in jeopardy like that, there’s nothing that can replace that. There’s no amount of money- they need to pay for that, they really do,” Montalvo said.
Investigators are urging those with information to immediately contact the ATF at 1-888-ATF-FIRE (1-888- 283-3473), or atftips.gov.
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Clark County firefighters battled a three-alarm fire in the southwest valley near Fort Apache and Tropicana Monday night.
According to Clark County Fire, crews responded to the intersection of south Fort Apache Road and west Tropicana Avenue around 11:50 p.m. for a reported fire at an apartment complex that was under construction.
Upon arriving, crews elevated the call to a third alarm as the fire grew due to windy conditions.
"Compounding the emergency, there were strong winds that was spreading the fire through the complex and sending embers to nearby neighborhoods," Clark County deputy fire chief Warren Whitney said.
The fire was officially considered "knocked down" around 1:50 a.m. Tuesday but the scene remained unsafe later Tuesday morning.
"The crews did an outstanding job canvasing the exposed neighborhoods and surrounding areas putting out tree fires, one ¼ of a mile downwind from the apartment fire, dumpster fires and preventing any other residences coming becoming involved," Whitney said.
No injuries were reported and residents in the surrounding communities were evacuated overnight. The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Whitney estimated damages to the building at $25-30 million.
An initial report estimated damage between $30-40 million.