Abandoned home possible source of trailer park fire

One of the homes hit by a fire early morning Monday in the Lombardy Mobile Home Park was also the scene of a blaze seven weeks ago, leading one of the neighbours who was burned out of his home to raise suspicions about the cause and asking questions about why it was still standing.

Nineteen firefighters from four halls were called to the site at 2188 Norwood St. in the VLA at about 6:20 a.m. where they found the trailer, which had been abandoned and boarded up since it was gutted in an April 10 fire, fully involved.

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The flames had also spread to two homes backing onto the lot from an adjacent lane while the windows of one next door were blown out.

It took about an hour to get the fire under control. The homes' four occupants all got out safely and there were no injuries.

Rob Ransom, a four-year resident of Lombardy, is thanking his lucky stars he was sleeping on the couch at the front of his home rather in the back bedroom when the fire broke out.

A neighbour woke him up and he was able to get out on time. But the blaze has sent him scrambling as it not only left his home unlivable but also destroyed his camper.

Neighbours are doing what they can in terms of supplying clothes and other items to help Ransom get back on his feet while the Red Cross has put him up in a local motel for the next few days.

While Prince George Fire Rescue has begun an investigation into the cause, Ransom strongly suspects it was a case of arson. Shortly after the first fire, a car at the scene had also been torched, he noted.

"It think it's a vendetta thing on the back road there. There are bad elements there," he said. "Our front row here, it's all retirement people [who own their homes] so it's nice and quiet here but the back row is a bit seedy.

"They'd came back and finished the job on that trailer and it caught onto my shed and onto my house."

Ransom said the structure should not have been still standing.

"It should've been torn down already," he said. "They had something that should've been torched and it was so easy for them to come and do it again. I'm pretty sure, I'm not positive but I'm pretty sure, that's what happened."

Ransom's neighbour, who identified herself only as Dee Dee and has lived in Lombardy since last October, has also been left homeless but nonetheless glad she escaped without injury.

"My girlfriend was staying with me and she came in the bedroom and yelled and woke me up," she said, and added a neighbour had alerted her friend in turn. The Red Cross has also put her up for a night at a local motel.

Roger Kemp, who lives next door to the abandoned trailer, remained hopeful Monday that he will be able to return to his home, saying the fire left it with a trio of broken windows, a hole in one corner and a bit of water damage.

"The fire department did an excellent job. If they had got there a few minutes later, my trailer would've been gone," Kemp said. "I was sleeping and I heard some crackling noise and I thought it was rain hitting the roof. And I was looking out this way and I couldn't see anything and I looked out that way and I could see the flames."

None of the three are insured. Ransom said he still needed to do a bit more work before he could get coverage and Kemp said the cost of insurance is often more expensive than the home itself.

"Mine was a nice trailer, so I'm hoping to get back in," said Kemp, who has lived in Lombardy for about 12 years.

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