Friday, Jan. 25, 2013 | 11:31 a.m.
The spokesman for the Las Vegas fire department learned Friday morning that fire can strike even the most prepared.
An exhaust fan in a second-floor bathroom started a fire about 7:20 a.m. at the Summerlin home of Tim Szymanski, public information officer for Las Vegas Fire & Rescue.
The fire spread into the attic, causing an estimated $50,000 damage, Szymanski said.
About 30 firefighters responded to the one-alarm blaze and were able to extinguish the fire by about 7:35 a.m.
Szymanski was running errands with his wife and son at the time, and no one was injured, including the family’s two dogs and two cats. The animals escaped out of pet doors.
“I change out (the bathroom fans) once every five years because we see those catch fire all the time,” Szymanski said. “We’ve lived in this house for almost 20 years, and I’ve tried to routinely swap them out for new ones. It just goes to show no matter how hard you try, accidents can happen.”
Szymanski said he left his house with his wife about 7:15 a.m. and waved to his neighbors on the sidewalk.
“Apparently we weren’t even gone five minutes before the neighbors heard the smoke alarms go off and saw black smoke coming out of the back of the house. They called 911,” Szymanski said.
“The firefighters told me they came upstairs and there was thick black smoke all the way down to the floor,” Szymanski said. “They went in the bathroom and something was dripping down and burning the carpet around the toilet. They looked up and could see it was coming from where the fan would be, and they started to rip out the ceiling because, at that point, it had spread to the attic.”
The home, in the 1600 block of Desert Canyon Court, is too damaged to inhabit, he said.
“I’m just ecstatic at how good the response was, and I’m grateful my neighbors were outside and noticed it so soon. Otherwise we could’ve lost a lot more,” Szymanski said.