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October 27, 2003
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Grandmother, infant and others escape blaze

A young boy watching television Monday morning spotted flames and was able to wake his grandmother, her daughter, and his infant brother in time to escape a fire that consumed their Carson City mobile home before firefighters arrived.

Neighbors heard a small explosion before they saw the family running down the street of the mobile home park.

"They are sad; they don't have anything. Everything burned," said family friend Ernestina Garcia.

The family was able to grab one baby blanket before they left. By the afternoon, an American Red Cross disaster team had found a temporary place for the family to stay and provided food vouchers and clothing.

Carson Fire Department got a call from the Safari Mobile Home Village on Hot Springs Road at 8:45 a.m.

"It was gone by the time we got water to it," said Battalion Chief Dan Shirey. "It's pretty much a total loss. We were strictly in a defensive mode trying to protect the surrounding structures."

The department called in a Dumpster to dispose of charred materials after a fire investigator looked at the structure, Shirey said. It is unknown what caused the fire. Monday's incident is possibly the third home fire crews had responded to in the past year at the complex, Shirey said.

Many of the 89 units inside the park are older trailer-type homes owned or occupied by young Hispanic families with children. Older mobile homes often don't meet today's fire safety standards and are susceptible to burning quickly in a fire, Shirey said.

The fire that started Monday destroyed Monrroy's possessions and home down to the outside metal exterior walls within 15 minutes. The grandmother, Natalia Monrroy, was examined by paramedics for apparent breathing problems, but all others escaped without injury.

"There is an inherent problem with mobile homes," Shirey said. "Even though the new ones meet code requirements, the burn characteristics are still very different than a (stick-built) home. Hopefully, they have smoke detectors that work in every room."

Manager Lyle Clapper said residents started hollering at him when the fire started, and he tried everything he could to get the gas shut down.

After finding no one home, Clapper was spraying down a utility power pole and box with a garden hose behind the home when crews arrived. Two trailer homes beside the structure were starting to heat up, but both were saved and the occupants and children were unharmed. Another fire consumed a home at the park earlier this year after a hot water heater malfunctioned, Clapper said.

Carson firefighters called the American Red Cross to assist the family that was left homeless. Red Cross workers will continue to work with the family to plan a long-term recovery, according to spokeswoman Donna Brand.

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Oct 27, 2003 12:00AM Published Oct 27, 2003 12:00AM Copyright 2003 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.