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Resident dies, eight homes lost in Skylark Mobile Home Park fire in Colorado Springs

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- The El Paso County Coroner's Office confirmed Friday that a woman died in Thursday's Skylark Mobile Home Park fire.

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Authorities said that the woman was found inside the mobile home where they believe the fire started.

Steve Linley is a neighbor and military veteran credited with trying to rescue the woman -- even while his home sustained fire damage.

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"The way the flames were going, and the wind... all you could hear was Help!" he explained. "But... I just... nothing you can do about it. Nothing... just nothing. It all happened too quick."

The coroner's office hasn't released an official cause of death; the victim's identity will be released once next-of-kin notifications have been made.

The fire broke out Thursday afternoon, and residents in the area were told to evacuate immediately.

According to the authorities, initial information from evacuees was that there was one fire victim before firefighters and police arrived at the scene.

However, a man sifting through some of the debris Friday said that he's the husband of the woman who died, and that authorities never told him that someone was missing or unaccounted for.

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He declined to be interviewed but said, "I'm upset about how this was handled."

The CSFD remained at the scene until 3:30 p.m.

Once the fire was out, authorities said that members of the Colorado Springs Police Department's Arson Unit responded and worked with CSFD fire marshals to investigate what happened.

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“After an extensive investigation to determine the cause of the fire at 3831 N. Cascade, the only ignition source our fire investigators are not able to rule out is the improper disposal of smoking materials. As a result, this fire will be ruled as accidental,” according a CSFD press release.

Louise Arrieta Almanzan, a resident in the adjacent Falcon Mobile Home Park, said that her cat saved her by waking her up.

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“The wall was already burning,” she explained. “My cat scratched me. I grabbed my cat and got out. My husband was at work. We’re in a hotel now. We’ve lost everything. No insurance. And I have terminal cancer, so I don't have much time left."

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A total of eight mobile homes were destroyed -- five in Skylark and three in Falcon.

The owner of Skylark was unavailable for comment but Falcon owner Susan Nelson said that she was providing hotel rooms for some of the victims.

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"Some of the units are rentals and some are owner-occupied," she said. "Most of the victims have no insurance. I'm hoping to find help and donations for them. I've been here since 1979. I've never been in this situation before. I suppose that I find myself with the responsibility of cleaning up this mess -- which seems very inequitable in that this happened, not because of us."

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With at least 60 mobile homes built closely together in both parks -- along with strong winds, dry conditions and exploding propane tanks -- the fire easily could have been more damaging and deadlier.

"Mobile homes have quite a bit of lightweight material," said CSFD Lt. Joey Buttwieser. "Just the nature of how they're built. That may lead to them burning at a higher rate, quickly."

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Around 50 firefighters responded to the scene; residents without damage to their homes evacuated temporarily but were allowed to return Friday.

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Shelby Filangi

Shelby is a digital content producer for KRDO.com. You can learn more about Shelby here.

Scott Harrison

Scott is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Scott here.

Comments

10 Comments

    1. So sorry to hear that a person lost their life. The woman who credited her pet cat for alerting her of the fire danger said that she lost everything, but she and her pet still have their lives. One of her neighbors was not that lucky. It’ll be rough starting over with no insurance, but, at least, you survived and can start over. I wish all of those who have been devastated by this fire only the best.

      1. It would be a joke if it wasn’t factual.

        ““After an extensive investigation to determine the cause of the fire at 3831 N. Cascade, the only ignition source our fire investigators are not able to rule out is the improper disposal of smoking materials. As a result, this fire will be ruled as accidental,” according a CSFD press release.”

        CSFD always goes to blaming cigarettes as their go to and when this fails, usually because of lack of evidence, like most posters on here CSFD then blames a homeless person.

  1. The woman who has owned this park since 1979 and seems to think it is unfair that she will be responsible for clean up should be grateful this hasn’t happened before. Any landlord knows that there are going to be large unexpected expenses. I bet she even has insurance on the units that were rented, even if the renters did not. She looks pretty bad when she says she shouldn’t have to pick up after others, while others have lost everything, including a woman’s life.

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