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Four Perish in California RV Park Fire

January 10, 2011 by   - () Leave a Comment

Four people died in a mobile home fire early Sunday  (Jan. 9) in an RV park in south Bakersfield, Calif., the Bakersfield Californian reported.

All of the victims were not immediately identified, pending notification of relatives.

The blaze broke out around 3:25 a.m. in Oasis Village, located in the 1200 block of South Union Avenue across from the Kern County Fairgrounds, the Bakersfield Fire Department said. Three pets, which neighbors said were dogs, also perished.

The cause is under investigation.

Battalion Chief Ross Kelly said the fire department hoped to have an update today.

“We want to allow our investigators time to do a complete investigation,” Kelly said.

Stunned neighbors and family members visited the charred shell of unit No. 44 Sunday.

Latoyia Fisher and her sister Breana Cowen said their 26-year-old sister, Amber Blackwell, had died in the fire.

“We’re just still all in shock,” Fisher said, tears in her eyes, as she looked over the scene.

Neighbors said three men — a father, his brother and his adult son — rented the unit. Amber, they said, had been visiting.

“Everybody knows everybody in the park,” said Mark Scrape, who lives two units over.

He and his family had been asleep early Sunday — a quiet night in the park, he said — when someone in his house shouted: “Fire, fire!”

Flames were visible from his windows.

When Scrape ran out to help, “this sucker was fully engulfed,” he said.

Scrape said he’d recently helped douse a blaze at the next-door unit, but Sunday’s fire was too hot to get close to.

Ernesto Vasquez and Donna Mancebo, park managers, have lived in the facility for 11 years. The three men moved into the single-wide unit about three months ago, they said.

All units are equipped with working smoke detectors when tenants move in, Mancebo said.

“I can’t figure out how come they didn’t have time to get out,” Vasquez said.

Oasis Village appears to be within a county island amid city turf in Ward 1, Bakersfield ward maps indicate.

Mobile home parks are regulated by the state, said Matt Constantine, Kern County’s public health director. Any inspections of such facilities would be done by state officials, he said.

The trailer park’s owners are listed in property records as Baby and Lissyamma Kurian of Bakersfield. Baby Kurian, who holds a real estate broker’s license, did not return messages seeking comment.

The fire department estimated the blaze did about $50,000 worth of damage. Crews knocked it down in about six minutes.

County firefighters, sheriff’s and coroner’s personnel assisted.

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