Arson Fire Destroyed Spanos' Luxury Complex - NBC 7 San Diego

Arson Fire Destroyed Spanos' Luxury Complex



    Arson Fire Destroyed Spanos' Luxury Complex
    The fire destroyed more than 300 apartments.

    Arson caused a $25 million fire that destroyed more than 300 apartments in a luxury complex under construction in Reno, investigators said Friday.

    The huge fire that broke out early Thursday destroyed 22 of the 36 buildings of The Alexander complex being built along U.S. Highway 395 by a company owned by billionaire developer and San Diego Chargers owner Alex Spanos.

    Reno fire marshal Joan Presley estimated damage to the complex at $25 million.

    "We have eliminated all of the accidental sources and are determining this was an intentionally set fire," Presley told The Associated Press on Friday.

    Among other things, investigators ruled out space heaters and electrical problems as possible causes, she said. She said they have "identified an area of origin" of the fire but don't know yet how it was set.

    "I can't comment on the investigation specifically but we are looking at all angles," she said.

    The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is assisting in the investigation because of the size of the fire at the 350-unit complex.

    "It's shocking," said Nick Faklis, vice president of A.G. Spanos Cos., the complex developer based in Stockton.

    "Very disappointing," he said in a statement Friday after learning of the cause. "Hopefully the people who are responsible are apprehended. We want to thank all the firefighters, city of Reno, Sparks and other agencies, and local police. They did an unbelievably outstanding job."

    The 80-foot-tall flames burned so hot just after midnight that they melted the windshield of a fire truck, forced evacuation of a nearby trailer park and closure of the highway for several hours.

    More than 65 firefighters and officials, eight structure fire engines, two ladder trucks and other equipment responded to the scene.
    The fact that some of parts of the complex were under construction - with wood frames exposed - contributed to the blaze's quick spread, fire officials said.

    Faklis said the company intends to rebuild portions of the complex. He said the project is fully insured but declined to give an amount.

    Earlier this month, Spanos began taking leases on one-, two-and three-bedroom apartments ranging from $1,095 to $1,695 a month in four of the 10-unit buildings that escaped damage in the fire.