Fire destroys Oak Creek mobile home

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Fueled by a ruptured propane tank, a fire destroyed a mobile home and killed a dog in Oak Creek early Thursday morning.

Electrical wiring sparked the fire at 211 N. Lincoln Ave. and melted the release valve for the propane tank, fueling the fire, Oak Creek Fire Protection District Chief Chuck Wisecup said.

Robert "Al" Henson owned the trailer and was out delivering papers for the Steamboat Today when the fire started. His dog, which was inside the mobile home at the time, died.

The owner lost everything inside the home, and he did not have insurance, Wisecup said. He was given vouchers for lodging, food and clothing.

A neighbor, who was six or seven trailers down from Henson's mobile home, heard popping sounds just after 5 a.m. The neighbor thought it was rain on the roof and then looked out and saw the fire. The neighbor called 911.

When Wisecup arrived nine minutes later, the entire back portion of the mobile home was in flames, and within two minutes, the fire had moved forward, blowing out the front windows, he said.

Four fire units and 15 firefighters responded to the scene. The fire was extinguished by 5:40 a.m.

The fire appeared to have started under the back of the trailer. When it started, it melted the gas regulator for the propane tank.

When firefighters arrived, they evacuated the two adjacent mobile homes and turned off the propone tank, which was used for the gas furnace and a stove, Wisecup said.

The propane had to be shut off before crews could tackle the fire, Wisecup said, and he noted that the fire department had just done a drill to practice that situation. If not cooled down, propane can cause a large explosion when it gets too hot, Wisecup said.

Propane company officials came later in the morning to remove the tank, so it would not cause any more damage.

Along with Henson's trailer, a neighboring trailer sustained minor damage, with the shutters and the skirting around the mobile home melted.

-- To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com

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