Mobile home damaged by fire caused by space heater
Rockport — A mobile home located at 144 Vinal St. was heavily damaged by fire Feb. 6. According to neighbors, the home, located next to Rockport Pottery, had been offered as a rental for months and was unoccupied.
Rockport Fire Chief Jason Peasley said a kerosene space heater was being used to thaw the pipes underneath the home in anticipation of renters moving in. The renters had already begun moving some belongings inside the mobile home, he said. The thawing process had begun the day before but when the heater was refueled and restarted, the heat shield was not replaced, according to Peasley. He said the fire began underneath the home and spread to the skirting quickly.
"There was very little we could do," Peasley said, because the fire started, and was 90 percent of the time, underneath the floor. Firefighters did all they could to get at the fire, he said.
There was a small hiccup in the process when one nearby hydrant was discovered to be frozen but there was another functioning hydrant in the vicinity, Peasley said.
"The guys did a great job shuttling water and keeping the trucks supplied," he said.
Peasely said the home is a total loss and, to his understanding, not insured. He recommends people "use extreme caution when using a heating source to thaw pipes. And remain with that heating source, don't leave it unattended."
The property has several structures on it and is listed in online tax records as belonging to Richard and Lynette Robertson.
Along with Rockport Fire, Rockland Fire Department and North East Mobile Health Services responded. The call for help went out just after 5 p.m. and firefighters remained on scene after 6:30 dousing hot spots. Peasley said the property owner's son arrived with an excavator shortly before 7 p.m.