Fire destroys mobile home near Fruita
Susan Nickels wasn’t prepared for a firefighter to hand her soggy, slightly singed photographs of her daughter.
Throw them away, she told the man, fighting back tears.
In reality, Nickels knows that what didn’t burn in Monday afternoon’s fire likely will have to join the photographs in the trash. Most of the items inside her home at 1208 Lonnie Way in Fruita were a complete loss.
It was the second time in Nickels’ life that she has watched her home burn. The first time was eight years ago when she lived in an apartment on Patterson Road.
On Monday, Nickels raced from her job at St. Mary’s Hospital to helplessly watch members of the Lower Valley Fire Protection District put out the fire that appeared to have started on the front porch, according to Capt. Gene Holder.
He also said the fire appeared to be accidental.
As difficult as it was to see possessions destroyed, Nickels said she was thankful that all seven people and two dogs who live in the house got out safely.
In fact, four people, including three small children, were home when the fire started at about 2:45 p.m.
Nickels took in a homeless family of five less than a year ago because they were family friends and needed help. The mother of the family, as well as her children — 3 years, 1 year and 3 months — were home when she called 911 to report the blaze.
She got the children and the dogs out of the home, Nickels said.
“My first thought was ‘are the kids out?’ ” Nickels said.
Now that the family of seven is safe, focus will shift on where to go and what to do next.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do,” Nickels admitted.
Holder said it appeared the mobile home was a complete loss.
Until Nickels figures out where the family of seven can move to, she will turn to the American Red Cross, which arrived on scene shortly after the fire was extinguished, and other residents of the subdivision off Ottley Avenue.
“The neighbors have been absolutely fabulous,” Nickels said.