• August 20, 2014

Early morning fire in Heights destroys 4 mobile homes

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Posted: Monday, March 17, 2014 10:30 pm

The Killeen and Harker Heights fire departments responded to a fire at a Harker Heights mobile home park that destroyed four mobile homes early Monday morning.

Deputy Fire Chief Glenn Gallenstein, with the Harker Heights Fire Department, said the department responded to a structure fire in the 100 block of North Roy Reynolds Drive around 5:30 a.m.

Once on the scene, he said, firefighters discovered two trailers fully engulfed in flames and two partially involved with the blaze impinging on a shed and an office in the mobile home park.

Gallenstein said the fire was brought under control around 6:30 a.m.

Steve Hamilton, a resident of the trailer park, said he was in the doorway of his home watching the fire with relative Lisa Hamilton, who called 911.

Steve Hamilton said he was awakened by his neighbor and saw the flames on the back porch of the trailer across from him.

“By the time I got to the front part of (my) house, the front part of the porch (on the trailer across from me) was on fire,” he said. “From there it went left, and then it went right. Embers were flying everywhere.”

Steve Hamilton said the homes in the trailer park are from the 1960s and ’70s and the fire spread quickly.

Jon Miller, who has lived in the mobile home park for five years, said he heard what sounded like a gunshot when a transformer blew from the fire, followed by sirens.

“I thought someone got shot,” he said.

Only one of the burning structures was occupied at the time of the fire. Resident and landlord Heidi Moss was able to escape the mobile home without any injuries.

Janie Ialacci, Moss’ great-granddaughter, said, “It’s just a loss, a total loss,” referring to the scene. “Everything (Moss) has known, everything’s gone.”

Heights Deputy Fire Chief Brad Alley said investigators believe the fire started in one of the vacant mobile homes.

Heights Fire Chief Jack Collier said Monday’s fire was the third in nine months in the trailer park.

“There are a lot of abandoned trailers, and there have been teens and vagrants down there,” he said.

Collier said foul play isn’t suspected, but there’s a lot of debris to sift through to determine the exact cause.

According to city regulations, new mobile homes are required to have a minimum of 35 feet of clearance between each trailer.

Collier said the park, which has been in existence for decades, is not in compliance with the city’s current codes.

Many older mobile homes were grandfathered into compliance, and the only way officials can bring it up to code is if 50 percent of the property were damaged or undergoing renovations.

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