Arson Could Be Cause of Renown Fire

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Arson investigators spent the day looking over the ruins of a construction fire, across from a Reno hospital. The blaze completely destroyed a six-building condominium project being built to house Renown Medical Center employees.

The blackened mess was almost ready to be sheet rocked, before flames came through and destroyed it. Construction workers on the project say the fire cost nearly half a million dollars in damage...and left them wondering, just who would want to destroy all their hard work.

"It's disappointing. I've never dealt with something like this in 35 years," said project manager Bruce Norman.

Norman is working on the six town homes, destroyed by a suspicious blaze. Firefighters arrived on scene, just after 1:00 a.m., but Norman says a private security guard hired to protect the project saw nothing suspicious at the site, only minutes before.

"There was nothing burning at the time, so within 15 minutes of his passing, this whole place was on fire."

Arson investigators told Norman that the manner in which flames attacked his project, seem to point only to arson. Investigators told him the flames, which burned unusually hot, took out all six buildings at the same time.

"The fire department mentioned that several years ago, there were other fires set in this area, but they never found out who did it," said Norman.

Perry Smith owns the auto body shop next door to the destroyed construction site. He says this isn't the first time he's seen a fire there.

"There used to be a pallet storing area there and it seemed to have quite a few fires. It's so close to the river and with all the homeless people, I don't know if it's just a coincidence," said Perry Smith of Coachcraft Autobody.

Fire officials won't say yet where they are in the investigation, only that it looks suspicious.

The project was scheduled to be completed by the end of July. No word on how far the blaze will set the project back.