RENO, Nev. (AP) – A search for bodies in the most heavily damaged section of a downtown hotel where a fire killed at least nine people was slowed Sunday because the building had to be stabilized, a spokesman said.

The Halloween night fire destroyed floors, weakened walls and caused a huge debris pile, said Fire Department spokesman Steve Frady. It was the deadliest fire in the city’s history.

Nine bodies had been recovered – including three more on Saturday – from the Mizpah hotel, an 84-year-old Reno landmark.

“There’s a tremendous amount of potentially dangerous situations in there and we’re closely monitoring it so no one on the recovery team becomes a victim,” Frady said.

“We still have the potential to recover more victims,” he said. “It’s just not a fast operation due to the hazards and nature of the operation.”

At least 30 people were injured in the fire, three critically. Police said 60 to 80 people had been inside the $150-a-week hotel, which mostly served boarders.

A makeshift memorial featuring flowers and candles has been erected outside the casino-district hotel.

Police arrested a casino cook and paroled killer, Valerie Moore, who they suspect started the blaze by igniting a mattress.

Moore, 47, was being held without bail on a parole violation while the investigation continues, said Washoe County District Attorney Richard Gammick.


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