Fire destroys two mobile homes in Vancouver

Officials warn of high fire danger, urge caution

By Mark Bowder, Columbian Metro Team Editor and Patty Hastings, Columbian Social Services, Demographics, Faith

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Fire destroyed two mobile homes Saturday afternoon in Vancouver, prompting pleas from fire officials for extreme caution with cigarettes, fireworks and other sources of fire.

The fire was reported at 1:09 p.m. at the 6912 N.E. 131st Ave. in the Sunrise Acres mobile home park in the Sifton neighborhood.

Ian Stollsteimer, 22, was in his bedroom when he heard a popping noise.

“Next thing I know, I heard pounding on my door,” Stollsteimer said.

Opening the door, he saw a wall of flames advancing toward him. He grabbed his turtle, Mr. Checkers, but that was all that made it out of the house with him. Firefighters with the Vancouver Fire Department responded and extinguished the fire, but both homes were considered a total loss.

“I’ve got all my life in that house…just moved into the place two weeks ago,” Stollsteimer said. “All my clothes were still in boxes.”

The Red Cross helped out Stollsteimer and his live-in girlfriend, along with the couple next door who also lost their house and two cats, Stollsteimer said. Nobody was injured.

“It’s just amazing how fast these trailers can go up in smoke,” Stollsteimer said. He recently moved to the Vancouver area and bought the mobile home, but hadn’t yet finalized his home insurance.

Stollsteimer believes that kids in the park next door shot off a firework that landed on his shed and sparked the fire.

“It’s not just dangerous, it’s downright reckless if you don’t know what you’re doing,” Stollsteimer said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, said Clark County Deputy Fire Marshal Susan Anderson. She asked anyone with information on the fire to call 911.

Anderson said fire danger is very high this weekend, and barkdust and brush fires being “continuously” called in to emergency dispatchers.

“We’re asking people to be diligent and careful with cigarettes, fireworks and other ignition sources,” Anderson said.