$2,500 reward offered in deadly Reno apartment fire suspected as arson, homicide

The suspected arson fire was reported at about 5:30 a.m. July 20, 2020 at a two-story apartment complex on 340 Broadway Blvd., just east of Wells Avenue and south of downtown Reno.

Reno police are investigating an apartment fire as a homicide after two people were confirmed dead Monday morning.

Secret Witness is offering a reward in the amount of $2,500 for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the suspect(s) wanted in connection with the suspected arson and homicide.

The fire was reported at about 5:30 a.m. at a two-story apartment complex on 340 Broadway Blvd., just east of Wells Avenue and south of downtown Reno.

When crews arrived, they found that the building was about 60 percent engulfed in flames, which then quickly spread to the rest of the structure, said Battalion Chief Mark Winkelman, of the Reno Fire Department.

“You could see a small column of smoke from all over the city,” he said, adding one witness reported seeing suspicious activity in the area. 

Winkelman did not clarify what the witness saw but emphasized the information helped lead investigators to believe the fire was arson. 

He said a few residents were seen jumping out of their windows — with some suffering from cuts and other minor injuries from the jump.

“We did a few rescues from inside the structure,” Winkelman said, adding the building was destroyed.

The building contained four units, two units on the bottom and two on the second floor. Winkelman described the building as having a wooden frame.

In total, 14 people were injured and 12 were taken to a local hospital. Of that total, two refused medical attention and at least one person was listed under critical condition, Winkelman said.

Several animals, including a couple of dogs, were also killed in the fire. No firefighters who responded to the scene reported injuries.

The American Red Cross of Northern Nevada and members of TIP (Trauma Intervention Program) of Northern Nevada were also called to the scene to offer counseling and help to those displaced.

It was unknown Monday morning how many people in total have been displaced.

Anyone having information relating to this crime or the suspect(s) should contact the Reno Police Department at 334-2188, Secret Witness at 322-4900, www.secretwitness.com, or text your tip to 847411 (TIP 411) Keyword – SW.

Check with the RGJ for more updates as they become available.

Marcella Corona is a breaking news reporter who covers crime and justice in Northern Nevada. Support her work by subscribing to RGJ.com.