Calif. Man Killed in Mobile Home Blaze

Aug. 20--OAK VIEW, Calif. -- A man was found dead after a mobile home was destroyed in a fire early Wednesday in Oak View.

The Ventura County Sheriff's Office and arson investigators responded Wednesday after a man was found dead inside a unit at the Lake Casitas Mobile Home Park on Burnham Road.

That type of response is standard when a fire is fatal, but nothing was found to indicate foul play, said Ventura County Fire Department Capt. Mike Lindbery.

Fire officials received a 911 call at 2:16 a.m. reporting a structure on fire with possibly someone inside, officials said. The caller then hung up.

Firefighters responded minutes later and found a mobile home engulfed in flames, but they could not enter the structure safely. Additional resources were called, and a total of 10 units were on scene by 2:25 a.m.

The blaze was contained to the one unit, but an adjacent home had minor damage. The woman who lived in the neighboring unit was able to get out safely, Lindbery said.

The fire was knocked down about 2:45 a.m. The victim, who had not been identified, was found inside toward the back of the mobile home.

An autopsy was completed Wednesday, but a cause of death was pending toxicology tests, according to the Ventura County Medical Examiner's Office.

The cause of the blaze remained under investigation, Lindbery said.

"Unfortunately, we see this kind of fire pretty frequently," he said. "Older mobile homes burn quickly."

Barry Pabst, who lives in front of the home that burned, woke up when his neighbor began pounding on his front door.

"The whole place was engulfed, not just one room," Pabst said. "I thought, 'What in the world is going on?' "

Neighbor Kitty McGinnis heard loud knocking noises early Wednesday that woke her up. She saw the flames as soon as she stepped outside.

"It all happened very fast," she said. "It started really fast and it was over fast, too."

She said the man who lived in the home was "a gentle person" who rode his bicycle and walked his dogs around the mobile home park.

Terry Nelson, another neighbor, heard similar popping noises Wednesday and was worried someone was trying to get into his shed before he realized what was going on.

"It was intense," Nelson said of the blaze. "It's scary when you look at how close the homes are to each other."

Staff writer Mercedes Aguilar contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 - Ventura County Star, Calif.

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