Heat tape started fire that destroyed mobile home

A short in heat tape on an outdoor water line caused an early-morning fire Monday that destroyed a Parachute mobile home, said David Blair, chief of the Grand Valley Fire Protection District.

The home, in the 11-unit Pioneer Mobile Home Court, belonged to Connie Hasbrouck, who had died in October. Her adult son, David, was living there and escaped in his pajamas.

A cat died in the fire. A second got out and survived,  Blair said.

Hasbrouck said he’s a light sleeper and one of the cats became antsy when the fire broke out. He said he awoke to the smell of smoke.

He said his family had not yet had a chance to go through family memorabilia that was left behind by his mother and was in the trailer when it burned.

He’s now staying in a relative’s home in Rifle.

“I received quite a bit of family and community support and it’s much appreciated,” he said.

“A bunch of people went to Walmart and bought him some clothes because he had nothing,” said Juanita Williams, who with her husband, Ed, own the mobile home park.

“People around here really do rally around one another.”

When the fire broke out, Williams’ grandson, Toby, used a garden hose to soak a tree and a neighbor’s home to help prevent the fire from spreading. She said the park is an older one and the units are close together.

Both Williams and Blair said it was fortunate that it had rained just before the fire broke out around 5 a.m.

Blair said the heat tape wasn’t that old. He said heat tape wires can stretch when they heat up and cool when they contract, making them prone to breaking.

That usually means they just stop working, but they occasionally can short out, he said. In this case, that led to rubber pipe insulation catching fire, and the fire spreading to the skirting of the home, and eventually its interior, he said.


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