Deadly Blaze Threatens Reno

Fire officials say 29 homes have been destroyed by a 3,200 acre brush fire near Reno, that forced 10,000 people to evacuate their neighborhoods. Firefighters were able to stop the fire’s progress, but not before wind gusts of up to 82 mph sent it rushing through a valley south of town, creating flames up to 40 feet high.

By late afternoon, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval asked for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency which is responding with a special team. They will look at the number of homes and businesses impacted by the fire and whether there should be an emergency declaration.

One person died in the fire. Authorities say 93-year-old June Hargis was trapped inside her daughters home.

While her cause of death remains unknown, officials believed she died from smoke inhalation. Autopsy results are pending

Then there’s the person described only as “an elderly gentleman,” who has confessed to improperly disposing of fireplace ashes, possibly starting the blaze.  The cause is still under investigation.

As for the family of June Hargis, they’re against prosecuting the man who started the fire. They add prosecution would do no good.

Meanwhile, rain and snow helped firefighters surround the fire, declaring it fully contained early Saturday.  Evacuations were also lifted and U.S. 395 reopened to through traffic.

Finally, Vice President Joe Biden was forced to cut short a speech about college costs at Galena High School.  Aides summoned him off stage 25 minutes into his speech where he told the audience he would have to move onto a question-and-answer time before officials “make me get out of here.”

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