Woman killed in Mesa mobile home fire


by Catherine Holland

Video report by Bruce Haffner

Posted on December 20, 2012 at 9:10 AM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 25 at 12:10 AM

Map: Greenfield and Main Street

View larger map

MESA, Ariz. -- A 87-year-old woman was killed when a fire tore through her Mesa mobile home Thursday morning, and Christmas decorations could be to blame.

It happened at about 8 a.m. in the area of Greenfield Road and Main Street in the East Valley. Aerial video from the scene showed what was left of the double-wide mobile home.

"A neighbor attempted entry but was unsuccessful as a result of the noxious smoke and flames," said Mesa Fire Department spokesman Forrest Smith in an email to 3TV.

William Lynn Evans broke through an Arcadia door, but the smoke was extremely think, hovering about a foot off the floor.

"I got on my hands and knees and was going to crawl in there, but I couldn't do that because of the heat," he said, talking about how fast the fire ripped through the mobile home.

It's not yet known what caused the fire. It's also not clear if there was a working smoke detector in the mobile home. Evans said the woman could not have heard them if there was.

Investigators believe the fire started in the bedroom, but they have not yet pinpointed the cause.

They say they noticed numerous outlets and power strips overloaded by Christmas decorations.

"Everything in her house was just Christmas," Evans said. "She had decorations all over her living room. You couldn't hardly walk in there because of all the little things she had ...."

Fire investigators say all of those decorations might have caused an electrical overload. Another theory is that several space heaters placed near flammable materials might have sparked the fire.

Holiday decoration safety 2012