Fire Destroys Four Mobile Homes, Damages Two Others in Hiawatha

By Dave Franzman and Forrest Saunders, Reporters

HIAWATHA, Iowa - Four mobile homes were destroyed and two others were damaged following an early morning fire in Hiawatha.

At about 2:15 a.m. Wednesday, firefighters responded to a mobile home fire along Chickadee Lane in the Tower Terrace Mobile Home Park in Hiawatha. When firefighters arrived on the scene, the fire had spread to three homes. Before it could be contained, the fire had spread to another two homes.

Hiawatha Fire Chief Mike Nesslage said that the fire was unlike any other he's seen at a mobile home in more than 30 years. Chief Nesslage suggested that a gas meter burned off early into the fire, causing gas to flow freely and ignite, likely causing the fire to quickly spread.

Four of the mobile homes were destroyed. Investigators said they are not certain how bad the damage is at the other two homes are.

Neighbor Al Hendricks said he was asleep when the fire started. He awoke to a banging on his door and found one kids in the first home that burned asking him to call 9-1-1.

"Somebody started beating on the door so I go over to the door and it's the little kid, from the home across the street, and he says call 9-1-1 there's a fire," Hendricks said.

Hendricks said as he watched additional mobile homes catch fire one-by-one he began to fear the fire would jump the narrow road and burn his mobile home. His siding was singed and melted a bit from the heat and flames.

Another neighbor, Ricky Jackson, also woke to a traumatic scene outside his mobile home.

"A lot of commotion, banging on the trailers, hollering--I opened up the door and it seemed like flames shooting up 20 feet in the air over there," Jackson said.

Five children and four adults were able to escape during the fire, the Red Cross was assisting them.

An investigation into what started the fire is underway.

Those wishing to donate items are asked to drop them off at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Hiawatha at 1350 Lyndhurst Dr, 52233. Hours to donate are Thursday & Friday (11/14 & 11/15) from 9:00am-4:00pm as well as Saturday (11/16) from 9:00am-noon.

Donation organizers are asking for clothing, coats, shoes, toiletries & toys.

Clothing sizes are as follows:

Displaced home one -
Adult - Women's large tops & 12-14 pants
Displaced home two -
Adult - Women's large tops & size 14 pants, size 11 shoes
Child ( boy age 14) - Men's Medium Tops & size 29x33 pants, size 13 shoes
Displaced home three -
Adult - Women's XL Tops, 18 pants
Adult - Men's L tops & 34x36 pants
Child (boy age 11) - Youth large tops & 10/12 pants
Child (boy age 9) - Youth medium tops & 8 pants
Child (girl age 8) - Size 7 tops & size 7 pants
Child (boy age 5) - Size 4T

Those who want to donate money can head to this webpage: http://www.gofundme.com/59cirw
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