Fire destroyed one in a row of old four-story brick buildings in the central business district Friday. The building was residential, but firefighters said there were no reports of injuries. The structure, not far from the casino and convention center, had minimal damage in the storm but burned to rubble.
Since there is no water in the city system, firefighters were unable to fight the blaze and stood by watching.
“There was nothing they could do,” said Chief Norman Woodridge.
The blaze appeared to be contained within the firewalls. It was across the street from two high-rise hotels, where employees were dumping buckets of water on their wind-shredded awnings to prevent embers from lighting them.
A half block from the fire, authorities with rifles stood guard.
The building was residential, and earlier in the week people, who apparently rode out the storm there, were sitting on a rooftop patio. Authorities said they were not aware of anyone in the building when the alarm was sounded.
Virtually all the city is being evacuated because there is no water or electricity, let alone food and sanitation.