Two Westside fires in two days force four people from homes

       No one was injured, but residents in two Westside homes had to seek housing help from the Red Cross after separate fires a day apart.

Flames flare up Nov. 21 as firefighters from Station 5 begin to attack a blaze, apparently caused by an electrical problem, that had broken out in a unit at the Aspen Grove Mobile Home Park. Although the trailer could not be saved, no one was injured and the fire was kept from spreading to the rest of the park. The conflagration was the second on the Westside in two days.
Westside Pioneer photo

       The more recent blaze started in mid-afternoon Nov. 21 at the Aspen Grove mobile home park in the 2400 block of Busch Avenue. Smoke was pouring out the windows of unit #26 when the first truck (from Fire Station 5) pulled into the park.
       Within minutes, units from Stations 1, 3 and 4, as well as the heavy rescue team from Station 17 and hazmat team from Station 14, were also on the scene. Although unit #26 could not be saved, the crews were able to keep the fire from spreading to neighboring mobile homes, according to Fire Department spokesperson Sunny Smaldino.
       Shifts of department brush trucks kept watch through the night, to make sure no resparking occurred in the ashes.
       She said the timing was bad luck for the residents, a father and son, who later had to seek Red Cross shelter assistance. “The father had just left to get his kid from school, and it happened right after he left.” But they were able to salvage some of their possessions, she added, because the worst of the fire was in the rear of the structure.
       Investigators believe the cause was an accidentally overloaded circuit. “That's why we discourage people from daisy-chaining from power cord to power cord,” Smaldino said. Also, she said, fire tends to spread faster in a mobile home than a foundation-style home.
       The earlier Westside fire, reported shortly after noon Nov. 20, broke out in a recreational vehicle parked next to a garage off the alley between 15th and 16th streets just north of Colorado Avenue.
       The cause of the blaze remained undetermined and was still under investigation as of Nov. 22.
       The fire destroyed the RV and burned much of the garage. The two people who had been living in the RV found shelter through the Red Cross, according to Smaldino.
       Crews from four fire stations (including the Westside's 3 and 5) kept the blaze from jumping to any other structures in the block. The smoke did force the residents of a nearby cottage to relocate to a friend's house for the night. They have since been able to move back in, she said.
       In fighting the fire, crews had to run hoses across Colorado Avenue, Smaldino said. This contributed to a need to close the street both ways for about an hour during the fire.

Firefighters work on the fire in unit #26 (center of photo) at the Aspen Grove mobile home park Nov. 21.
Westside Pioneer photo

Westside Pioneer article