Explosive fire rips through West Peabody trailer

By JILL HARMACINSKI

Staff writer

PEABODY -- A simmering fire in a West Peabody trailer exploded yesterday afternoon, destroying the home of a young Pine Street family.

Ali Aljabery arrived home to see smoke and flames coming from his home at 41 Pine St. Fearing for the life of his wife and toddler, he ripped open the front door, allowing a fresh stream of oxygen to shoot inside.

The brewing fire inside the vinyl-sided trailer "basically exploded," blowing out the back side of the home and completely engulfing its contents, Deputy Fire Chief John DiAngelo said.

Aljaberry's wife and 14-month-old daughter were not home when the fire broke out. They were visiting friends in Lynn, neighbors said.

Aljabery suffered minor burns after attempting to go inside the trailer. Fire officials said his face was singed by the blaze and he was taken by ambulance to Salem Hospital for treatment.

How the fire started was unknown yesterday, but investigators were leaning toward an accidental -- possibly electrical -- cause.

Just before 2 p.m., neighbors said they heard a loud bang and stepped outside their trailers, located in the thickly settled mobile home park.

"I looked and saw the flames and the smoke," Pam DiPaolo, who lives across the street, said. "Then I had my son dial 911."

Twenty-foot high flames shot above the trailer as thick, black smoke clouded the neighborhood, she said.

"The fire just blew the trailer wide open," DiPaolo said.

Aljaberry had just arrived home from work, and he wasn't sure if his wife and child were inside. There was a short period of time when no one knew the whereabouts of mother and child, DiPaolo said.

"He was devastated," she said. "And it was devastating to watch. My heart was just breaking for him. Thank God his wife and his baby weren't in there."

The family has lived in the trailer for about approximately two years, DiPaolo said.

Judy Colbert was watching television in her nearby mobile home when she heard the loud bang.

"I thought a heavy truck went over the bridge," she said, pointing toward nearby Johnson Street.

"Then I saw the flames," Colbert said. "Somebody yelled, 'Dial 911!' The flames were going way, way up."

The fire left a massive, gaping hole the back of the trailer. Appliances and furniture also were burned. Windows were blown out, and the trailer's vinyl siding curled up from the intense heat.

In the front yard, right next to the mailbox, several handfuls of marigolds in a lawn garden were left unscathed.