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Fire, Explosions Destroy Institute Trailer

Reported: May. 12, 2014 9:46 PM EDT
Updated: May. 13, 2014 7:07 PM EDT
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INSTITUTE, W.Va. (Kera Mashek) -- It was quite a dramatic scene along Finney Hollow Road in Institute Monday afternoon. Even with three fire departments on scene, little could be done to save the mobile home.

"It's all gone," homeowner Edsel Taylor said.

Flames were shooting out of every corner, and a thick cloud of smoke was billowing into the sky that could be seen for miles. Thankfully, Taylor wasn't inside when it started. He could only watch his home of 30 years burn to the ground.

"You hate to see your own go," Taylor said.

The fire was quite a challenge for those on the front lines because of what was inside the mobile home.

As the flames rose, a combination of ammunition, oxygen and propane tanks exploded. Making matters worse, a nearby power line snapped and sparked, and the brush behind the house also caught fire, leaving firefighters to make the decision to just stand on the sidelines until things settled down because the conditions were just too dangerous to get close.

"The trailer was not saveable. There was nobody in it to be saved, so why get hurt over something you're not going to make any . . . if you are successful, there's nothing to accomplish but a lot to lose and nothing to gain. So they made the right decisions," said C.W. Sigman with Kanawha County Emergency Management.

Walking through the rubble of his home, Taylor understands that decision. He is still devastated, but also thankful to be alive.

Taylor is hoping to put another mobile home on the lot eventually, but said recovering will be difficult because he didn't have insurance and lives on a fixed income. Thankfully, several relatives live nearby who he can stay with for now.

Fire crews suspect a faulty electrical box may have sparked the fire, but the cause is still under investigation.



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