Three people from western Iowa have died over the past week from injuries suffered during mobile home fires. Two women, one from Carter Lake and one from Fontanelle died Wednesday at hospital burn units in Lincoln, Nebraska and in Iowa City, and a Fontanelle man died Sunday morning from injuries he suffered in a mobile home fire that would later claim his partner.
Sitxty-three-year-old Susan Davis died Wednesday at the University of Iowa Hospital’s Burn Unit. Davis and 60-year-old Howard Burgher had each suffered severe burns when their mobile home caught fire Saturday night. Burgher died Sunday morning at the U-of-I Hospital’s Burn Unit.
When firefighters arrived, they found Davis and Burgher on the ground outside of the couples’ mobile home in Fontanelle. Investigators with the State Fire Marshal’s Office determined the fire began with the careless discarding of smoking materials. And, 74-year-old Donna Thomas, of Carter lake died Wednesday night, after being critically burned in a fire at her mobile home early Tuesday morning.
Thomas was found by two Carter Lake Police officers who were on patrol. They heard her faint cries for help and forced their way in to the home, where Thomas was located on the floor. The officers grabbed the woman and pulled her out of the structure. Investigators say the fire was caused by an electrical short in an appliance near Thomas’ bed.
Both homes were packed with combustible materials, which officials say accelerated the spread of the flames, and in the case of the Fontanelle fire, blocked the escape routes the couple could have used. Neither home had any working smoke detectors.
By Ric Hanson, KJAN, Atlantic