Fire at mobile-home park may have been sparked by cut gas line |

Fire at mobile-home park may have been sparked by cut gas line

Photos by Jonah M. Kessel / Tahoe Daily TribuneSmoke rises from a trailer at Heavenly Valley Mobile Estates after a fire Tuesday night that may have been caused by a punctured gas line. The blaze sent a toddler to the hospital.

A South Lake Tahoe mobile-home tenant who tried to unfreeze his water pipes says he may have accidentally cut a gas line, which erupted into a ball of fire Tuesday night, causing major damage to the structure.

As flames and smoke filled the crawlspace of Unit 55 at Heavenly Valley Mobile Estates, Rosendo Amaya, 47, ran into his home, grabbed his 3-year-old son who was sleeping in a room that had filled with smoke, and called 911.

“I tried to throw snow on it, but it was coming out too fast, so I ran inside and called for help,” said Amaya, a 13-year resident of the complex located off Pioneer Trail and Blackwood Road.

“My first thought was, ‘My son. I got to get him out.’ “

His son, also named Rosendo, who suffers from asthma, was inside the smoke-filled bedroom at the time of the fire and was choking, Amaya said. The child was taken to the hospital for evaluation. No one else was home at the time.

The fire started at about 6 p.m., and firefighters had knocked it down at about 7 p.m. Crews had to call in a water truck because the fire hydrants appeared to be covered in 20-foot-high snow berms.

The grounds of the mobile-home park had been plowed Monday, a day after several residents said they complained to managers that they were trapped by the heavy snow inside the complex. Some residents said they doubted fire trucks could have gotten into the park if it had happened Sunday.

Several fire trucks were dispatched to the mobile-home park; however, some could not get through because of the narrow streets. A firefighter at the scene said moving through the snow and not finding gas and electric safety valves caused problems getting to the fire. But once a water truck arrived, the crews were able to get water on the flames.

Amaya said he was using an electric saw device to get at his water pipes to loosen the ice. A cut and a spark from the saw is what Amaya said may have caused the fire.

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