Pleasant Hill fire injures 1,destroys 3 mobile homes

The cause has not been determined but might be related to an electrical problem


PLEASANT HILL — A fire sent one man to the hospital, killed six pets and destroyed three mobile homes in Pleasant Hill early Monday morning, police said.

The injured man was transported to PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield, and later was transferred to a hospital in Portland.

No information about his condition or how he came to be injured was available Monday night.

Two dogs and four cats also died in the fire, according to residents of the Bella Casa Mobile Home Park, 85961 Edenvale Road.

The fire, which was reported about 4 a.m., displaced seven people. Officials estimated the damage at $175,000. Three other dwellings sustained minor damage.

Two of the owners of the three burned mobile homes did not have homeowners insurance.

“That’s what makes it bad,” said Steve Abel, interim chief of the Goshen Fire District. “You have folks who have just lost everything.”

Abel said fire marshals have not determined the cause of the fire, but they believe it was accidental, possibly because of an electrical problem.

Several witnesses — some of them residents of the fire-destroyed homes — told The Register-Guard on Monday afternoon that the fire was caused by faulty wiring in an air conditioning unit.

Roger Williams said he woke up to a banging noise and thought someone was breaking into his car.

“I thought someone was robbing us,” Williams said. “I didn’t even put any clothes on because I was just going to yell, but then I open up the door and I go, oh, crap! Get the dog; get our keys.”

Goshen fire crews arrived before the flames reached Williams’ cars and shed.

“I cannot believe they saved my house,” Williams said. “I thought for sure it was going to burn. It was the spookiest, most horrible way to wake up at 4 in the morning.”

The fire originated in the house in the middle of the three mobile homes, where Linda Cook lives with her children, according to other neighbors at the scene. The person injured was inside that house, Abel confirmed.

With flames reaching more than 10 feet above the roof lines, there was nothing left of the middle dwelling; the two on either side were reduced to charred metal hulks.

Engines made it to the scene about 10 minutes after they were dispatched, but most of the damage already had been done, Abel said.

“It’s ugly when you live out of city limits,” Williams said.

Mildred and Robert Tibbets said they lost their home, their belongings, $5,000 in cash and their 9-year-old cat, Charlie.

“Mine was the last one to catch on fire,” Mildred Tibbets said. “We got out, and I was sitting down there watching everything go up in smoke. They said, ‘There goes your house, Millie,’ and I thought oh, god! I know my cat didn’t go out because he’s scared; he’s skittish. So he went to kitty heaven.”

Tibbets also lost her collection of music boxes in the fire, she said. The only picture she was able to save from her home was a cracked frame with photos of her grandfather. Tibbets said she didn’t have homeowners insurance.

The residents of the mobile home park own their homes, but lease the land on which they were located. That means even the ones who no longer have a place to live still must pay rent until all of the debris has been cleared from the site.

Tibbets said it could cost up to $5,000 per trailer to clear the debris, depending on whether asbestos is found in the remains. This is a real possibility because the mobile homes that were damaged were at least 30 years old.

Park residents are organizing a GoFundMe campaign for the fire victims. A donation jug has been placed in Jasper Market, and there will be a yard sale all day Saturday and Sunday at site No. 2 at the mobile home park to help raise money for those who lost their homes.

This article was first published here

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