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Search warrant executed at scene of deadly Las Vegas apartment fire

Updated December 23, 2019 - 4:39 pm

Las Vegas police and Fire Department investigators have served a search warrant on the Alpine Motel Apartments as part of an ongoing investigation into a fire that killed six people.

Las Vegas Fire Marshal Robert Nolan told the Review-Journal on Monday that the search warrant was executed about 4:30 p.m. Sunday at the apartment complex at 213 N 9th St. and said investigators were back at scene to gather evidence on Monday. He also said Las Vegas police are now taking the lead in the investigation.

“It is going to allow us to investigate inside, to get rosters, addresses, names of people,” Nolan said.

The initial investigation was for origin and cause and it was determined to be an accidental fire, Nolan said.

“Subsequent investigations pursuant to the warrant will allow us to look for hazards, violations and possible conditions that may or may not be violations but did contribute to the rapid spread of smoke,” he said.

He said investigators would go “floor by floor” on Monday, adding that on Sunday they got only as far as the first floor.

At a news conference Monday morning, Las Vegas Councilman Cedric Crear said while there has been a “history on this site as recently as the beginning of this month,” all code enforcement cases had been resolved prior to Saturday’s deadly fire.

Nolan said that records indicated the fire department had last visited the site for a complaint that the fire alarm system was not functioning correctly in May 2017, but that the issue was resolved within a week.

The motel complex is owned by Las Vegas Dragon Hotel, LLC, which lists Adolfo Orozco as managing member.

In the past two decades, Orozco went from a school teacher in Napa to owner of more than a dozen properties in Nevada, including the Alpine, records and online social media shows.

Orozco’s Linked-in profile showed him working as a public school teacher in Napa, Calif., starting in 1998, the year he graduated from Sonoma State University with a teaching degree. Within two years, he listed himself as a real estate investor.

Right after the 2008 crash, he acquired 10 houses and a condo in various parts of Las Vegas, Clark County property and Nevada Secretary of State records show. Many of the properties were in foreclosure.

Then over the next eight years he acquired the Alpine in 2013 and at least two other motels — the Casa Blanca and Starlite in North Las Vegas, records show.

Malinda Mier, who spoke to the Review-Journal at the scene of the fire on Saturday, said she was a co-owner of the property, but business records for Las Vegas Dragon Hotel do not list her. She is, however, listed on records for businesses associated with some of Orozco’s other properties.

In 2011, Orozco also listed himself as recruiter and sales person for Herbalife, his Linked-in profile shows.

He also has interests in a drain cleaning business, which is listed at an address for the Dragon Motel, which he bought in 2009 and sold in 2013, and apparently a yoga, acupuncture and massage business in Rhode Island, according to records databases.

Attempts to reach Orozco on various phone numbers and emails associated with him and at his businesses were not successful. An attorney representing him declined comment.

Contact Glenn Puit at gpuit@review-journal.com or 702-383-0390. Follow @GlennatRJ on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writers Shea Johnson and Art Kane contributed to this report.

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