A fire in Rachel on June 30 destroyed the home and car belonging to 84-year old DeWayne Davis.
Sheriff Kerry Lee said Davis escaped the fire but said a woman did suffer “minor injuries on her arms.”
Rachel does have a fire engine that was donated to the town a few years ago, but Lincoln County Fire Chief Rick Stever, reporting at the county commission meeting July 3, said the engine is not currently being kept in a fire barn but rather outside, close to the Little A’le’Inn, “and over the winter the water was left in it and froze and broke the pump,” so it was ineffective for this fire.
A 911 call about 9 p.m. said the occupants were leaving the home. Pahranagat Valley Fire and EMS, which covers Rachel, responded with two engines and a water tender.
Lee there were at least two explosions possibly from oxygen tanks in the home before emergency vehicles arrived about 10:15 p.m., but the structure was a total loss at that time.
The cause of the fire was determined to be accidental. In speaking at the county commission meeting Stever said it was mentioned to him about having “a pickup or a car” based in Alamo that could be used two get one or two firemen from Alamo to Rachel well ahead of the Alamo fire trucks to then use the Rachel engine.
Pat Loudenklaus, owner of the Little A’Le’Inn, said they are seeking to raise money to have the fire engine repaired.
Davis, a U.S. veteran, was able to get to the rear of the house away from the fire, “and had he not been able to do that,” Loudenklaus said, “we would have lost him, because we couldn’t go in the front of the house. We could not have even gotten a fire truck close to the house. There were two or three oxygen tanks, guns, rifles and ammunition, etc. Once it got going, it was just a matter of minutes.Davis is currently staying with family in Las Vegas. Loudenklaus said one of the drivers of the Adventure Tours that come from Las Vegas to see the E.T. Highway and Area 51, offered to bring up a 30-foot camp trailer for Davis to live in, “and one of our California friends sent a check for $200 to set up a fund for him. Things like that,” she added, “make you know the world is a really great place.”