Trailer fire kills dogs, leaves man homeless

FRONT ROYAL – A trailer-home fire in Warren County killed two dogs and left a man homeless Monday night.

Now people in the community are trying to help the victim by donating clothes and collecting money through an online fundraiser.

The blaze started around 7:30 p.m. in a single wide trailer home at 739 Mountain Road in Skyline Ranch Resort, Fire Marshal Gerry Maiatico said Tuesday. Dispatchers received the report of the structure fire and dispatched crews at 7:35 p.m., Maiatico said. A unit with an engine from the Front Royal Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department responded at 7:52 p.m.

The nearest station, the Rivermont Volunteer Fire Department, did not have responders available, Maiatico said. The fire occurred outside the hours of the paid firefighters assigned to Rivermont. The station did provide an emergency medical services crew for the incident.

Firefighters arrived to find the trailer fully engulfed in flames with the blaze spreading to a nearby camper, Maiatico said. Crews brought the blaze under control within minutes, Maiatico said.

“Both trailers were a total loss but firefighters were able to keep it from spreading to any additional properties or neighboring wild land areas,” Maiatico said.

Crews had an adequate water supply. Firefighters tapped into a dry hydrant across the street from the campground to tackle the blaze, Maiatico said.

The victim lived in the trailer and worked as an employee for the campground. Maiatico didn’t give the name of the victim. Floy Bunning, the director of operations for the resort, was not available for comment Tuesday evening.

“He was home at the time of the fire but actually had just walked outside to feed some livestock,” Maiatico said. “So when he returned home he noticed fire. He was able to remove one of the doors or kick in one of the doors and rescue one of his dogs who was in pretty serious condition.”

Bystanders quickly took the injured dog to an emergency veterinary clinic, Maiatico said. The two other dogs perished in the fire. The victim lost his belongings in the blaze but he did not report any injuries, the fire marshal said. The occupant owned the trailer. The campground owned the nearby camper.

The victim was offered assistance from the local American Red Cross but refused because he had friends and family in the area, Maiatico said.

An online fundraising campaign at https://www.gofundme.com/jgcqdjsc has attracted donations.

The fire remains under investigation but appears to have started by accident, Maiatico said. The investigation is focusing on a heat lamp used with a snake tank, he added.

Crews from stations in Front Royal, Rivermont, Linden and Chester Gap responded to the fire. Responders remained on the scene for about two hours to perform overhaul and to make sure they had extinguished the fire, Maiatico said.

Campers and other structures were close to each other in a campground format, Maiatico said. The blaze produced a lot of heat given the size of the trailer and its contents. The heat then caused the nearby trailer, made mostly of aluminum and fiberglass, to ignite, Maiatico said.

“In any type of fire in a mobile home or mobile-trailer type home is extremely dangerous due to the materials used in the construction of those mobile homes,” Maiatico said. “Once the fire got going it was a very rapid fire progression throughout that trailer.”

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com

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