A chance sighting by a fire crew driving over the blue bridge Tuesday afternoon averted possible disaster for residents of a Pasco trailer park.
The Pasco crew was returning from a Kennewick fire about 2:55 p.m. when they saw smoke coming from the Flamingo Village on Homestead Drive. They responded immediately and were able to put out the blaze before it spread to nearby homes.
Flamingo Village manager Angela Watkins said it looked like flames were shooting from the water heater inside the trailer.
"They were here fast," she said. "It only burned for maybe 15 minutes."
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The fire spread throughout the small trailer and the home is a total loss, said Pasco Battalion Chief Don Donais, who estimated the trailer has 100 percent smoke damage and 25 percent fire damage. No one was home and no one was injured.
The cause of the fire still is under investigation, though it started in the laundry room, Donais said. There is a possibility that it could be electrical.
Two neighbors reported seeing a man inside the trailer before the fire started, Watkins said. One neighbor said she saw the man leaving the house and gave the license plate of his car to police.
Donais said there is no information that would lead him to believe the fire was set intentionally.
The couple who lives in the trailer, Marie Guadalupe Torres and her husband, Alejo Aguilar, have lived there for more than two years and recently renovated the bathroom and kitchen.
The 31-year-old Torres said through a translator that she believes all of her possessions inside the house were lost in the fire.
This is the third fire at Flamingo Village in the past three years, Watkins said. The park houses around 700 people in 204 homes.
The Kennewick fire, at the Dorsett Apartments on 703 N. Tweedt St., started in an upstairs apartment balcony, possibly from a barbecue that was left unattended and spread into the kitchen, said Kennewick Battalion Chief Tod Kreutz.
No one was home and no one was injured, Kreutz said. Along with the fire damage to the upstairs apartment, water damage was reported in the downstairs unit.
Aneyssa Barreras lives in the downstairs apartment with her two children and left before the fire started sometime after 1:40 p.m. to go to the furniture store.
"Imagine if I would have come back and everything was gone," she said. "It could have been a lot worse."
Fire crews arrived on scene just as the fire was spreading into the living area. Firefighters were able contain the fire in the kitchen, Kreutz said. Firefighters from Richland, Pasco and Benton Fire District 1 assisted.
The Red Cross has been in contact with the victims of both fires and will provide them with assistance. Contributions to the Red Cross disaster relief fund can be delivered or mailed to 7202 W. Deschutes Ave., Kennewick, 99336, or call 509-783-6195 or go to www.redcross.org.