By Paul Gottlieb
Olympic Peninsula News Group
A Forks mobile home was damaged by an electrical fire early in the morning on New Year’s Eve, leaving a woman, her two children and 11-month-old grandchild unharmed but temporarily homeless.
Castle Rock Mobile Home Park homeowner Lynae Kelsey and her family stayed with a neighbor before the American Red Cross put them up at a hotel, Clallam Fire District 1 Chief Bill Paul said.
He said the cause was a light-fixture malfunction inside the home at 2610 Calawah Way, No. 67.
Paul said family members saw electricity arcing from and flames shooting out of the bedroom fixture when Kelsey had the presence of mind to shut off a breaker.
“I believe that’s what saved the residence, was her quick thinking, was shutting the power off,” Paul said.
Most mobile home fires don’t turn out as well, he said.
“By the time we get there, they usually are fully involved. They burn so fast because of the materials inside. This was a good ending.”
Kelsey’s 720-square-foot home has exterior metal walls and is valued at $2,000, according to the county assessor’s office.
Peninsula Communications received a 9-1-1 call from the residence at 12:22 a.m. Monday.
The occupants fled the house with a blanket and the clothes they were wearing, Paul said.
“They were obviously shaken.”
Two District 1 pumpers and 12 emergency personnel responded, Paul said.
Smoke was issuing from the ceiling and insulation. Wiring and four sections of paneling were damaged.
There was minimal water damage to the interior after firefighters laid salvage covers over the family’s personal belongings, Paul said.
Paul said Kelsey does not have fire insurance, and the mobile home did not have a working smoke detector.
Free smoke detectors are available from the district by calling 360-374-5561.
Last Thursday Kelsey shared, “We have a place to stay until we can hopefully find another home but we don’t have a place to store our furniture because all of the units around here are full. Other than that I’m not sure what we need right now.”
She also shared, “I would like to thank Rex Lapin for being there and telling me to turn the breaker off. If it wasn’t for him, we probably wouldn’t be here today.”