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Family believes squatters burned down their home on Stewart St. |

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Family believes squatters burned down their home on Stewart St.

Leah Vandenakker reflects on the home she once grew up in.

“All of my memories, baby pictures, prom dresses, everything is just gone,” she said.

This isn’t the first time the abandoned house next door has caught fire.

In January, another fire was reported at the same boarded-up single story home on Stewart St.

“It’s been really difficult because we knew it was coming,” Vandenakker said.

Vandenakker says squatters have been in and out of the abandoned house for years.

“They cooked there in the winter,” she said. “There was a fire in the backyard constantly.”

The City of Las Vegas installed a temporary fence around the property. City officials were planning on demolishing it before another fire broke out last week. 

“They (City officials) told me that my house has burned down. I just burst out into tears,” said Vandenakker.

The two-alarm house fire at 2126 Stewart Ave. spread to two homes where a family cat died.

The city typically handles squatter complaints. But, the Vandenakker’s thought it was Metro Police’s job so a formal complaint was never filed.

“I just wish we could have done something about it sooner instead of just waiting until the day finally came,” she said. “It’s a lot to lose.”

The cause of the fire is still unknown, according to Las Vegas Fire and Rescue officials. 

The Vanndenakker’s say they are now working to rebuild their life by finding a new home.