Mizpah Legacy


Stephanie Van Streefkerk lived at the Mizpah Hotel and worked at a business there. On Halloween night she was able to escape the fire that left 12 others dead. She says the deaths were unnecessary. That's because according to a Reno Fire Department news release, mattresses were being stored in the Mizpah's hallways.

"It was almost like it was just waiting to happen," Van Streefkerk said.

Van Streefkerk said the mattresses limited walking space.

Valerie Moore, 47, pleaded guilty to starting the fire at the Mizpah Hotel in January. A fellow-tenant said he believes she set a mattress on fire.

Carol Hullinger, who used to live at the Mizpah, said there were six mattresses on her floor alone. "Instead of having like room for two people to comfortably run down the hallway, you can only get one," Hullinger said.

Fire Investigator Scott Shields, with the Reno Fire Department, said inspectors are supposed to check buildings to make sure people can get through hallways.

He said he believes the last time the Mizpah was inspected was in early 2006, and mattresses were not an issue then.

A newspaper article says the Mizpah was in compliance with fire codes and inspectors were there just days before the fire.

"(The mattresses) were there for about a month," Hullinger said.

Fire inspection records are not being released at this time by the Reno City Attorney's Office. A Deputy City Attorney says the records need to be reviewed to determine which could be released. KOLO filed a Freedom of Information Act Request for the documents.

Coming up Friday on News Channel Eight, the final part of our special report, "The Mizpah Legacy."


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