FIRE DESTROYS MOBILE HOME

January 29, 2002 12:00 am
FIRE GUTS MOBILE HOME: A La Grande Rural Fire Protection District firefighter removes burned material from a mobile home at the Sacajawea Mobile Park Monday morning. The blaze was caused by thawing frozen pipes with a propane torch. (The Observer/PHIL BULLOCK).
FIRE GUTS MOBILE HOME: A La Grande Rural Fire Protection District firefighter removes burned material from a mobile home at the Sacajawea Mobile Park Monday morning. The blaze was caused by thawing frozen pipes with a propane torch. (The Observer/PHIL BULLOCK).

A mobile home and its contents were destroyed Monday morning when two men thawing out pipes with a torch went to buy some heat tape, according to La Grande Rural Fire Protection District officials.

Firemen responded to the Sacajawea Mobile Park, 2403 Riddle Road, Space 55, at 10:30 a.m. after a neighbor saw smoke coming from the home and called 911.

The occupant, Tyler Monte Garrison, 21, and his father, Monte Harland Garrison, 62, visiting from Lewiston, Idaho, told officials the pipes froze Sunday night and they were attempting to thaw them out with a propane torch around 10 a.m. Monday.

The men said they left to get some heat tape around 10:30. They returned a few minutes later to find the home on fire and the fire department on the scene.

The fire was reported by Zondra Lee Hensley, of Space 54. She had the front door of her residence open for a minute and saw smoke drifting across the road. When she went outside and saw smoke coming from the windows of the home next to her, she called 911.

Jim Voelz of the fire department said the investigation revealed the fire originated in the area where the torch was being used to thaw the pipes.

He said the fire spread from the underside of the structure up into an interior wall between the bedroom and bathroom. It engulfed the bedroom and was spreading throughout the home when the first engine arrived, Voelz reported. The fire was quickly controlled, but the interior of the structure and the contents were a total loss, according to the fire department.

Jeremy Smith, 21, was also a resident of the home.

A fund to help the victims has been set up at the Boise Cascade Credit Union, 2010 Island Avenue.

From Observer staff reports