Fire department points to overused outlet as possible cause of mobile home fire

Monday, July 21, 2008 | 6:14 p.m. CDT; updated 4:53 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COLUMBIA — A mobile home fire in north Columbia resulted in an estimated $25,000 in damage. The cause of the fire was still under investigation as of Monday afternoon.

At about 10:15 a.m., Rebecca Raider reported a mobile home fire at 3406 Range Line St. in the Rustic Meadows Trailer Court, Battalion Chief Gary Warren said. Firefighters arrived on the scene at about 10:17 a.m. and reported smoke coming from the front door of the lot 92 mobile home. Fire crews extinguished the fire in 10 minutes, Warren said.

The home incurred heavy fire damage to the master bathroom and smoke damage throughout the structure. Initial damage is estimated at $25,000, Warren said. He said the fire originated in the master bedroom of the mobile home. According to a Columbia Fire Department release, the fire started at an outlet in the master bathroom. Although the department is unsure of the exact cause, there were three small appliances plugged into the outlet: an electric shaver, a beard trimmer and a Glade PlugIns air freshener. One of the devices was plugged into the outlet on the air freshener, the release said.

Warren said he did not see or hear any smoke detectors in the residence upon arrival. No one was injured in the fire.

Shortly after arriving at the mobile home park, residents told fire crews that just before seeing smoke coming from the trailer, they saw three white males removing four four children at gunpoint from the trailer. Emergency service operators relayed this information to other responding crews.

The residents’ statements to firefighters were later found to be inaccurate; the children left the trailer with a man holding a cell phone. The children are all accounted for.

The owner of the mobile home, Ronald Gini, was not at home at the time of the fire. Gini returned home to find fire crews at his residence. Upon arrival, Gini’s vehicle struck the left rear corner of the Fire Department’s Rescue Squad 3, Warren said. No one was injured as a result of this crash.

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