RV catches fire with resident still inside

YUMA, Ariz. – Clean up crews swept up ashes early Wednesday left behind from a fire that completely destroyed a trailer around 4 p.m. the day before. Mesa Verde resident Eric Hornby was at a nearby golf course at the time.

Hornby said, “We suddenly notice the black smoke. Seeing the general area where it was coming from, we were a bit concerned.”

Neighbors watched as firefighters battled the flames.

Mesa Verde RV Park resident Ed Penner told us, “We were wondering how far it was gonna go because of the severe winds that we had.”

The fire briefly spread to a nearby palm tree. Wayne Saunders took photos as it all happened. He described the scene as a “complete inferno inside.”

He was relieved a propane tank in the area did not explode. The flames did damage two more homes, including Dorothy Derksen’s. She and her husband are visiting from Canada.

“We’re kinda sad, because we just came last Thursday, and we were planning to stay for a month,” Derksen explained. “Now we don’t know what’s in store for us.”

Her fifth wheel suffered exterior damage. The strong smell of smoke still lingers inside. She says another trailer, which was also damaged, is currently vacant.

Dwayne Kessler says his friend banged on the door of the burning trailer, potentially saving the life of the man inside.

“He ran right to the door and pounded it on it to make sure nobody was in there, and there was only one fellow in there. He was either lying down sleeping,” Kessler said.

The victim, Bill White, says the Mesa Verde owner is temporarily allowing him to stay in a vacant unit but is unsure where he’ll go after that. Many neighbors I say one thing is for sure.

“It’s just a piece of metal. Bricks and mortar can be replaced. People cannot,” Penner added.

Fire officials haven’t determined an exact cause of the fire but don’t suspect foul play. Investigators did say the fire started somewhere around the refrigerator.

About The Author

Eduardo Santiago joined the FOX 9 and ABC 5 news team in February, 2012. That’s the same year KECY launched its very first local newscast. He has been covering local news in Yuma and the Imperial Valley since his start as a KYMA photojournalist in 2006. During his decade in broadcasting, Eduardo has covered some of the biggest stories in the Desert Southwest – from President Bush’s visit to Yuma, Ariz. to the uncovering of drug tunnels that span the US-Mexico border. One of the most memorable stories Eduardo covered was the 2010 Easter Earthquake that rocked the Imperial Valley, Mexicali, and Yuma. Eduardo, along with his news team, won an award from the Associated Press for best coverage of an ongoing story following the quake. Before he made his move to TV, Eduardo was just a kid born in East Los Angeles, where he spent his early childhood. His parents moved him to Mexicali, B.C. Mexico, where he did most of his elementary school education. He finally landed in El Centro, where he graduated from Central Union High School in 2005. Eduardo is currently a student at Imperial Valley College. You can find Eduardo hanging out in the Imperial Valley and Yuma with his family on any given weekend. His off-screen passion is playing guitar and sports.

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