He and his wife made their way out of their home with a flashlight. Outside, flames billowed in every direction.
More than 4,000 NV Energy customers lost power as poles and electrical wires were scorched and knocked down, said spokeswoman Faye Andersen. Utility workers were not allowed into the fire area.
Roughly 100 Nevada National Guard members assisted local law enforcement in checking homes and keeping people out of the evacuated region.
"These next 24 hours, with all the power lines down and everything else, it is still a very, very dangerous area," Reno Mayor Bob Cashell said.
Evacuees could return to their homes at noon Saturday, Cashell said. A number of local hotel-casinos were also offering discounted rooms to displaced residents.
At least 90 schools were closed for the day to clear the roads of school traffic and make way for emergency workers.
The U.S. Postal Service suspended delivery to the area for the day, and the state high school athletic association moved its football playoffs from Friday night to Monday.
Most of the 16 people who went to hospitals were treated for smoke inhalation. Health officials urged residents to stay inside and reduce physical activity, warning that the dust and smoke could cause health problems for those in the affected regions and downwind neighborhoods.
Associated Press writers Martin Griffith in Reno; and Michelle Rindels, Cristina Silva and Ken Ritter in Las Vegas contributed to this report.
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