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Fire prompts evacuation of downtown apartment building

Updated Friday, Nov. 2, 2012 | 9:36 a.m.

A man was taken to the hospital suffering apparent smoke inhalation after a cooking fire Friday morning at City Center apartments in downtown Las Vegas, city fire department officials said.

Firefighters responded at 5:19 a.m. to the building at 811 Bridger Ave. after someone reported fire alarms were sounding and smoke was filling a second-floor corridor, Las Vegas Fire and Rescue officials said.

When firefighters arrived, heavy smoke was found on the second floor of the four-story, 300-unit building.

Because of the size of the building and the thick smoke, a second alarm was dispatched to help evacuate residents, officials said.

Firefighters found a small fire in a pot of clam chowder on a stove in one of the apartments, officials said.

The fire was put out by a security officer who forced his way into the apartment, officials said.

After firefighters entered the apartment, they found a middle-aged man unconscious on a bed. He was taken to University Medical Center, and it appeared he was suffering from smoke inhalation, fire officials said.

Investigators found evidence that the man might have suffered a medical emergency and became unconscious while cooking, officials said.

Fire investigators ruled the fire accidental. Damage was estimated at $500.

The apartment has automatic fire sprinklers, but there was not enough heat generated by the fire to activate them, officials said.

Residents were permitted to return to their apartments once the smoke was cleared, which took about 45 minutes, officials said.

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