Ox Bow Estates Fire Leaves Two Homeless

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Two Rim country residents are homeless this week, following a fire that destroyed their single-wide mobile home in Ox Bow Estates late Tuesday evening.


The blaze caused $35,000 in damages to the trailer and the occupants' belongings.


Fire Marshal Jack Babb said Leah Christenson smelled smoke Tuesday night, and immediately woke the other resident, Casey Clifton.


"They found fire coming from under or inside of the lower kitchen cabinet," Babb said. "When they went outside, they spotted fire coming from under the house. They attempted to throw water on it, but were unsuccessful."


When fire crews arrived, they found the mobile engulfed in flames, Babb said. The fire was extinguished and crews returned to the station by 2 a.m.


"Both occupants escaped without injury," the fire marshal said. "That's pretty lucky since the home didn't have a smoke detector."


"In fact, this is a good time to remind people of our smoke detector program," he said.


The fire department provides smoke detectors free of charge, and will even install them if that's what it takes to make sure every home in town is equipped with working smoke detectors, Babb said.


The preliminary investigation indicates the fire was caused by an electrical malfunction, he said.

"A lot of these older mobiles have aluminum wiring, and with age, that wiring can cause arcs and sparks," he said.


Residents living in older structures should check their electrical wiring regularly, Babb said, and if folks experience repeated failures in their circuit breakers, they should contact a licensed electrician.

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