HOUSE FIRE MAY 30, 2018
Wednesday May 30th 2018 about 3:00 in the afternoon. I was in the family room watching TV / playing on the iPad - we were planning to leave shortly to go to cousin Gary's to watch the Golden Knights Stanley Cup game. Bonnie came from the bedroom to the kitchen area and said it smells like smoke - I was then aware of a slight smell that I had not noticed before. I went out to the patio and could smell the smoke-smell and (incorrectly) decided that since the smell was stronger outside than inside, that there was no problem in the house. A few minutes later, Bonnie said that it looked like there was a haze in the house. I went outside, and from the backyard I could smoke coming out of the two west roof vents. I tried to call 911 from my cell phone, but it was insisting that I had to complete some update process before I could make a call - so I went inside and called 911 from the landline (now 3:13 PM). (No one else ever reported the fire.)
The fire department was there in less than two minutes (they have a station on Pecos near Reno - real close). When the fireman broke a hole in the ceiling over the front door, flames came out - and for the first time the smoke detector by the bedroom went off. Our nearest fire hydrant is about 200' from where the fire truck was parked so they had water lines in place quickly. To gain access to the attic, the living room ceiling had to come down. And in the midst of all of this activity, part of the crew got plastic tarps over the two armoires in the living room - protecting them from the falling attic insulation and water - thank you, thank you, thank you. Of course there was also a crew on the roof - removing our concrete roof tiles so that they could access the roof sheathing that was burning. Then, with the fire apparently out, everyone was watching carefully for a while to make sure that nothing re-kindled.
The location of the start of the fire was very obvious - at the center roof vent. There was a vent fan on that vent that apparently failed and overheated - the fire supervisor confirmed that the electric circuit breaker for the two attic fans had opened. He also said that based on his experience, if their response had taken another two minute they would not have been able to contain the fire.
The event, if it had to happen, happened at a least-bad time. Three weeks earlier, we were away on our anniversary cruise. The fire happened in daytime with both of us awake. If it had smoldered another half hour, we would have been gone to Gary's. Best guess - six months of repair work - starting by removing all contents from the house (put into storage) so that the ceilings can come down so that the burned roof trusses can be replaced - and to fix the roof, all of the concrete roof tiles have to be removed, then replaced.