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Monday, December 3rd, 2007

Fire destroys families' homes

Fires break out in two Rockford trailers in less than a week

By Margie Wuebker
The Mercer-Auglaize County Chapter of the American Red Cross is seeking monetary donations for two Rockford families after fires broke out in their mobile homes last week.
Daniel and Lindsey Snyder, 506 W. Bridge St., Lot 16, were awakened shortly after 1:30 a.m. Thursday by noises coming from the living room at the front of the mobile home. He went to investigate and was driven back by flames and heavy smoke.
The family, which includes children ages 6 and 2, escaped through a back door because the front door was inaccessible by that time. Flames quickly spread aided by a slight wind blowing from the west. Intense heat also destroyed the Snyders' 1996 Chevy Cavalier parked nearby.
Daniel Snyder received oxygen at the scene for smoke inhalation but did not require further medical attention. It is not known whether the mobile home was equipped with smoke detectors.
"The place was fully engulfed when we arrived on the scene," Rockford Fire Chief Ralph Rhoades told The Daily Standard. "The cause remains undetermined because everything was burned so bad."
The family escaped with only the clothes they were wearing and had no time to save anything else.
Rhoades estimated the damage at $6,000 to the trailer, property and car and $2,000 to the contents. The family does not have insurance on the home or contents.
Two pumper trucks and 13 men remained on the scene for several hours. Mutual aid was not needed, according to Rhoades.
This marks the second time in less than a week that firefighters responded to the West Bridge Street trailer court. At 3:29 a.m. Nov. 26, they battled a fire at the mobile home of David Schaadt, Lot 20. The blaze reportedly began in an electrical outlet behind a television. Two trucks and 10 men responded to the call.
The Schaadt family, which also includes a wife and two children, is reportedly dealing with heavy smoke damage resulting from the fire. The blaze did an estimated $1,500 in structural damage but Rhoades did not have a dollar figure on content loss.
"The Schaadt family sustained losses as well but not to the extent the Snyders did," said Deb Hemmelgarn, community services director at the local Red Cross.
The Red Cross temporarily provided lodging for both families at Westlake Village as well as vouchers for clothing and other needed items.
Donations can be brought or mailed to the Red Cross office at 117 S. Main St., Suite B, Celina, Ohio 45822.
With the approach of the holiday season, Rhoades encourages people to be cautious when it comes to putting up "live" Christmas trees. Such trees require an adequate water supply to prevent the needles from drying out too quickly. Placement is also important because trees standing too close to a heat source can be a fire hazard.
"The two trailer fires did not involve Christmas trees but we're getting into the season now," he added. "Taking precautions at this time of the year certainly pays off."
The fire chief also encourages residents to check lights on the tree periodically to make sure they are not too hot. Additionally, inside lights and sockets should not be used in outdoor displays. He also reminds people not to leave candles burning unattended and not to plug too many cords into a socket.
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