Fire destroys mobile home in Sylva; no injuries

Photo by Ben Haines

SYLVA, N.C. – A mobile home went up in flames late Tuesday evening, March 19, in the Mountain Creek Estates mobile home park, causing damage to surrounding units and prompting emergency personnel to evacuate residents.

No one was injured in the blaze which destroyed one mobile home and damaged two others before firefighters brought it under control. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, according to Tim Green, Chief of the Cullowhee Fire Department.

The fire originated in the mobile home located at 159 Anvil Road, home to Billy and Connie Mills and their three children, shortly before midnight. By 1 a.m., the unit was charred a dark grey with the roof collapsed inward.

The Cullowhee Fire Department received a call about the fire at 11:45 p.m. and the first unit of firefighters was on the scene at 11:48 p.m. Todd Dillard, Emergency Management Coordinator for Jackson County, worked with the American Red Cross to assist the Mills family.

In their mobile home several units up Anvil Road from where the fire originated, residents Colin and Casey Whitfield heard a loud explosion just before midnight. “When we heard the explosion, it sounded like a gunshot a couple of trailers down from us,” Colin Whitfield said. He recalled that emergency personnel were on the scene less than five minutes later.

The fire spread from the main unit to the adjacent mobile homes on either side. The unit on the right, 161, owned by Lisa Sampson, sustained heavy fire damage in the living room as well as heat and smoke damage throughout the entire structure.

The damage to the unit on the left, 149, home to Tony and Joyce Whitmire, was comparatively mild. The fire melted the underpinning and popped several windows.

As a precaution, the Cullowhee Fire Department evacuated residents from the two nearest units on each side of the affected mobile homes until the fire was extinguished. It took roughly 30 minutes for emergency personnel to get a handle on the blaze, according to Chief Green.

“I need to know if that was a meth lab explosion, because we’ve dealt with enough meth crap in that neighborhood. They just evicted some neighbors that we knew were using meth,” said Whitfield. “I know they (Mountain Creek Estates management) have been trying to clean the place up, but I know it’s still in that trailer park.”

The cause of the fire and the explosion that preceded it is still undetermined.