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UPDATED: Mobile home destroyed in fire

Posted: May 6, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 6, 2011 1:55 a.m.

A Saugus mobile home was destroyed by fire after its resident allegedly lit a reclining chair on fire with a lighter, witnesses said Thursday.

Flames engulfed the home at about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Lily of the Valley mobile home park at the 29000 block of Bouquet Canyon Road, according to a statement from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.

The sole occupant in the home, described by neighbors as a man in his 60s, was taken to Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital to receive medical treatment for smoke inhalation, the statement said.

The mobile home was destroyed, with the total loss of property estimated at $85,000, according to the statement.

Red emergency tape and orange safety cones were in front of the mobile home Thursday morning as two workers salvaged a charred refrigerator and stove. A slab of wood charred black was jutting out of the mobile home. Most of the contents inside had been reduced to black rubble. None of the other mobile homes appeared to be damaged by the fire.

Kathy Russell, 53, said she heard loud noises coming from her neighbor’s home when she peered outside her bathroom window.

“I was thinking, ‘What the heck is that noise?’” Russell said.

Russell, who has lived in her mobile home for 16 years, peered out of her bathroom window and saw her neighbor a few feet away attempting to move a reclining chair out of his mobile home.

Seconds later, she saw the man open a Zippo-style butane lighter underneath the chair. The man held the lighter to the chair until it began to smolder, Russell said.

As Russell called 911, the chair became engulfed in flame. Within seconds, the fire had spread to the entire mobile home and the man ran out of the house, she said.

“It went like that,” Russell said, snapping her fingers. “These places are put together with spit and chewing gum.”

Russell ran to get her garden hose and began spraying the flames with a stream of water to protect her home. But the blaze was too large and too hot to handle.

“(The fire) was nothing a garden hose could put out,” Russell said. “By then, it was too darn hot.”

Deputies arrived minutes after Russell called 911. Authorities told neighbors to get away from the flames as firefighters
battled the blaze. Russell grabbed her 2-year-old poodle Sammy and drove her car down the street a safe distance away
until the fire was put out.

There were no winds blowing through the mobile home park on Wednesday, Russell said. Had there been severe wind gusts, the fire may have burned her mobile home and others, she said.

“That was too, too, too close,” Russell said. “That was the scariest thing. I thank God that I didn’t go to bed earlier.”


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