RENO, Nev. – A fast-moving brush fire destroyed six homes in less than an hour Monday before dozens of firefighters doused the flames in the same neighborhood where four homes burned in 2004.
The fire reportedly started just before 3 p.m. in sage brush and dry grass on a hillside and quickly burned up to 2 acres as it made its way into homes on the city's north side just east of U.S. Highway 395.
Officials ordered residents to evacuate the neighborhood for several blocks around the fire before getting the fire under control.
There were no serious injuries reported, although two firefighters were treated at the scene for heat exhaustion and a third suffering from smoke inhalation was taken to a Reno hospital "to be checked out" as a precaution, Reno Fire spokesman Steve Frady said.
More than 50 firefighters, 10 fire engines, two ladder trucks, a rescue unit and a helicopter battled the blaze in gusty winds, Frady said.
"They jumped on it really fast. Sometimes conditions just combine to make it difficult to catch," he told The Associated Press.
"They are pretty much into mop-up mode right now. There are a couple of active fires in the structures but I don't think we'll see any more spread at this time," he said.
A preliminary estimate put damages around $2 million, including the six homes that were destroyed and a seventh that received serious damage, he said.
The fire sent up a large plume of black smoke visible from downtown Reno about five miles away.
The cause of the fire had not been determined but investigators were checking reports that some juveniles were seen running from the area in a drainage below the homes about the time the blaze broke out, Frady said.
The fire was in the Ridgecrest neighborhood where a fire destroyed four homes and damaged a fifth in 2004. That blaze was started by a pair of boys playing with fireworks.
Monday's fire is not far from the Washoe County Sheriff's Office, from where spokeswoman Brooke Keast said she saw one house fully engulfed almost immediately after the fire broke out.
"There were flames coming from every angle," she told the Reno Gazette-Journal.