Glass exploded and fire rolled from the windows of a trailer home on El Campo’s east side Tuesday morning as neighbors armed with water hoses tried to keep the flames at bay.
No one was home, a shaken Luz De Leon said as she awaited firefighters’ arrival. “I pounded on all the doors. I think they are at work ... this is like a nightmare.”
The 1411 Fred Street mobile home belongs to her family. They live next door, renting out rooms in the trailer. In this case, three men (a father and two adult sons) lived there.
“The initial report was there were occupants still in the house, but after firefighters searched the house no occupants were found,” El Campo Volunteer Fire Chief Jimmy George Jr. said Tuesday. “The Wharton County Sheriff’s Office was able to locate them at their work.”
Dispatchers sounded the first alarm summoning El Campo’s firefighting volunteers at 7:07 a.m. Monday.
Command units arrived shortly after law enforcement, ordering neighbors back while trying to get more information on the residents’ whereabouts.
Grabbing the water hoses, they directed those meager streams toward the intense heat of the crackling flames at the middle of the trailer as dark smoke rolled. The effort was more hope than help.
Soon pumper engines rolled up, however, and the real battle began in earnest.
“I was going to feed the chickens,” De Leon said, gesturing to the blaze. “I really hope no one was hurt ... I’m sure they left the stove on.”
The fire’s fury was concentrated in the kitchen area of the trailer.
In less than 20 minutes, firefighters were winning the battle, beating down and drowning the flames.
“The origin of the fire was in the kitchen, the cause was electrical,” George said.
The ECVFD sent five units and 14 firefighters to the call.
The Wharton County Central Appraisal District lists the 1978 mobile home as part of the property owned by Luz De Leon and Rody Martinez at 1413 Fred. The property values are lumped together in CAD data.
The names of the occupants of 1411 Fred were not released.
The trailer’s interior was destroyed with fire also warping and breaching outer walls.