Trailer fire claims the lives of five

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A mobile home fire in Shell Knob claimed the lives of two adults and three children early Saturday morning.

According to Rusty Rickard, fire chief of the Central Crossing Fire Protection District, his department received the fire call from 911 at 4:31 a.m. on the morning of May 16. Within three minutes, firefighters arrived at the home, which was located on North Hazelwood Street in the Turkey Mountain #2 subdivision.

"When we got there, the building was probably 75 to 80 percent on the ground," said Rickard. "The north end of the structure was partially standing, and we think the fire had been burning for awhile before we got the call. Those older trailer houses burn pretty fast."

After "knocking down the fire pretty quickly," firefighters went about the task of trying to determine if anyone was inside the home.

"We attempted to rescue them, but everyone we came across had already perished in the fire," said Rickard. "We think most of them were still sleeping."

The victims were identified as Robin Troncoso, 20, and her three children, Juan Jose Beltran, 3, Alechena Troncoso, 2, and Marcello Beltran, 7 months, all of the home, and Martin Williams, Jr., 22, of Cassville.

In all, 28 firefighters responded to the fire with nine trucks. The Central Crossing Fire Protection District serves a 130-square-mile area with seven stations serving portions of Barry and Stone counties.

The State Fire Marshal and the Stone County Sheriff's Office were called in to investigate the fire and the deaths.

"No one has determined the cause of the fire," said Rickard on Tuesday morning.

The fire chief said the deadly blaze was a tough one for his firefighters to handle. A critical incident stress management team will be coming to Shell Knob to meet with the firefighters.

"I think everyone is doing fairly well considering the circumstances, but we're going to do everything we can do to get them help if they need it," Rickard said.

According to Rickard, Central Crossing firefighters had not responded to a fatality fire since the 1970s.

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  • Whether it is a nail driven into the wall to hang a picture that clips an electrical wire or a rodent in the attic chewing through a wire running through his bedding...a short circuit in home wiring can happen at any time and can have the majority of the home engaged in flames before the family even realizes there is a fire.

    While they are required in new homes being built, today, most homeowners are unaware of the electrical safety device that can be installed in your existing electrical service panel that can immediately cut off the flow of electricity to a wire when an arc fault (short circuit) is detected.

    Learn more about them, here:

    These inexpensive devices may have saved these lives, depending upon the cause of the fire. In any event, they are standard in all new homes and prudent homeowners will upgrade their older homes, accordingly.

    -- Posted by Jim Bushart on Thu, May 21, 2009, at 9:48 AM
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