Las Vegas, NV – Fire sprinklers saved building after suspected arson

A fire that burned through a local dentist office has been ruled it may have been caused by arson, according to Las Vegas fire Investigators.

Crews spent Thursday morning and most of the evening gutting ABLE Dental, located in the Dona Maria Plaza on North Tenaya Way.

Also, because the fire was so intense, the next door business of Africa Sanchez Attorney’s office was damaged by water.

Receptionist Jhonnathan Lopez told 13 Action News that several boxes were drenched, and the smell of smoke permeated the air, forcing them to close the office for at least a day.

“It’s the inconvenience, you know?” Lopez said. “We had a full calendar of appointments today, and we had to reschedule everyone.”

Tim Szymanski, with Las Vegas Fire and Rescue, said the fire burned so hot and so fast that the flames activated several ceiling sprinklers when naturally occurring fires usually activate just two.

“This is a complex fire here,” Szymanski said.

He said sprinklers activate when temperatures reach between 155 and 165 degrees, and with so many activating at the same time it was immediately suspicious.

“It would be similar to someone maybe throwing a match into a barbecue,” Szymanski said. “You get that big poof.”

Szymanski also said that without the sprinkler system, a third of the complex likely would have burned to the ground.

Property owner Nezira Johnson swore by the sprinkler system that may have saved her a lot of work rebuilding.

“It saved our building,” Johnson said. “I think it would have burned down at least half.”

She estimated her repair bill would reach six figures, but was confident that her insurance would cover the majority of the cost.

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