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Suspicious Mobile Home Fire In Brookings

May 17, 2012, 10:12 PM by Kelly Bartnick

Suspicious Mobile Home Fire In Brookings
BROOKINGS, SD -

Authorities continue to investigate a suspicious mobile home fire at Medary Village in Brookings. 

Volunteer Fire Department Chief Darrell Hartmann says flames that broke out under an outside deck were aided by high winds, and eventually engulfed the mobile home.

"If we hadn't got the call when we did, and we hadn't been aggressive, it could have really easily extended to other trailers," Hartmann said. "It really affected this one. It blew it both under the trailer and then up the trailer."

"I ran back inside. I was yelling for my mom, but she was in the room sleeping. My brother was in the living room. I tried getting out," said 15 year-old Celena Wagner who was trapped by the fire.

Wagner and her family eventually got out a back door. She's shaken, but not hurt. Neither is anyone else.

Diane Kinney lives in the home next door. Fire crews managed to save her home, but barely. Kinney's husband saw it all happen.

"He never calls me on the phone," Kinney said. "He called me seven times when I was working and told me to come home now!"

But of all the damage outside, Kinney says it was a miracle only a single plate broke. The blessings don't extend to her next door neighbors though. Chief Hartmann says few items can be salvaged.

"There's nothing naturally that could have started [the fire], so it is under investigation," he said.

Chief Hartmann says it is too early to tell if the blaze was intentionally set, but the Brookings County Fire/Arson task force is investigating.

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