NORTH FORK – The manager of the Mammoth Pool Mobile Home Park did his best to save his home when it caught fire this morning, but despite the assistance of neighbors, it was a total loss.
At about 10:20 a.m., firefighters were called out to reports of a structure fire on Road 225 at Italian Bar Road. Cal Fire, Madera County Fire and Sierra National Forest engines responded, along with Air Attack, tankers and helicopters.
Before engines arrived, neighbors grabbed shovels and fire extinguishers and ran up the steep embankment on the opposite side of the road to knock down a couple fires that had spotted across.
Cal Fire engines out of Rancheria were the first engines at scene, and firefighters immediately attacked the fire that was spreading through the vegetation to the home just east of main fire, and started getting water onto the burning home.
By 10:49 a.m., Air Attack was overhead and reported seeing no other spot fires in the area. At 11 a.m., the incident commander released all resources not already at scene with the exception of one engine and two water tenders. Air tankers and helicopters returned to base.
Charles Bowley is the manager of the park, along with his wife Jeanette, and says he was weedeating in another location when he saw the smoke. He ran and grabbed his garden hose and did his best to knock down the flames, suffering burning lungs for his efforts.
He says his dog was inside at the time of the fire, and believes the dog perished in the blaze.
Charles says he does not believe this fire was an accident and that a couple days ago he saw smoke coming from his garage and ran out to find a wadded-up t-shirt that he says was set on fire and thrown into the garage. He was able to extinguish that fire, but has strong suspicions about this one.
A Cal Fire investigator responded to the scene and will be conducting a thorough investigation into how the fire started.
Firefighters were able to keep the fire from spreading to any surrounding homes.
It was just 11 months ago that a fire destroyed a travel trailer in the same park.