A 74-year-old man died of a heart attack on Friday while trying to flee to safety from a raging wind-fueled Reno fire that has left 16 injured, 30 homes destroyed and thousands of acres scorched.
City of Reno spokesman Kevin Knutson confirmed to The Associated Press that the 74-year-old man died of cardiac arrest after evacuating his home.
It was due to the evacuation, Knutson said, adding that he did not have any further details.
More than a dozen people have been rushed to the hospital for heart and respiratory problems, according to the L.A. Times.
Authorities have yet to determine what caused the massive fire that began around 12:30 a.m. on Friday. The Reno fire has since spread and scorched 2,000 acres, up from the 400 acres reported earlier that day.
An evacuation order issued for the northwestern Nevada region remained in place Friday afternoon. Reno and its suburban districts were surrounded in a blazing curtain.
Police went door-to-door telling residents to evacuate on Friday in the Caughlin Ranch area. Approximately 10,000 were evacuated. Destroyed homes stretch out for two-miles in southwest Reno. The fire has been spreading because winds of up to 60 mph continue to scatter embers, creating new blazes.
Nevada residents were forced to flee their homes as the massive wildfire consumed the Sierra Nevada foothills and spread down the valley floor.
The gusts are sending embers downwind and creating new fires, said Knutson. I think by the time it's over, the fire will be much greater than 400 acres.
The whole mountain was on fire, said Dick Hecht, a resident of the Reno area. It was so smoky, you couldn't hardly see, Hecht said. I couldn't even stand up. It was like a tornado.
Emergency crews are having a hard time reaching the danger zone because of the strong winds.
Chief Mike Hernandez told The AP that there were 400 firefighters on the ground but they were having trouble getting ahead of the wind-fueled fire.
We have crews leap frogging from one neighborhood to another, Hernandez said. Our biggest challenge is the wind, and it's not going to die down anytime soon.
I want to caution you, this does not mean the fire is under control, he told reporters. But we have stopped the forward movement.