November 04, 2001 11:00 pm

By The Observer

ELGIN A morning mobile home fire claimed the life of an Elgin man Sunday.

William Arthur Evans, 77, died at Grande Ronde Hospital Sunday after being injured in a fire that destroyed his home at 2000 Alder St. in Elgin.

The fire apparently started around 6:30 a.m. Sunday and burned slowly, Union County District Attorney Russ West said. A neighbor discovered the fire around 7:30 a.m. and called the Elgin Rural Fire Department.

The east side of Evans home, a single-wide trailer, was engulfed when firefighters arrived a short time later, said Pat McDonald, chief of the Elgin Rural Fire Department.

Eight firefighters and two engines were called to the fire, which was quickly put out.

There were structures around the fire that were at risk. The siding of an unoccupied stick structure on the south side of Evans home was scorched during the fire.

An investigation of the fire was conducted Sunday with assistance from a deputy state fire marshal from Ontario. The cause of the fire was accidental, West said. There is no evidence of foul play.

The investigation revealed that the fire started because two heaters were plugged into an electrical receptacle. This overloaded the circuit and caused the aluminum wiring in the trailer to melt. Aluminum wiring does not handle heat as well as copper wiring.

Aluminum wiring was used extensively in trailers more than three decades ago before problems with it were discovered. Evans trailer appeared to have built made in the late 1960s or early 1970s, West said.

Evans home did have a smoke detector.