Deaf man killed in early morning mobile home fire

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- A 22-year-old partially deaf man died in an early morning mobile home fire despite his father's frantic efforts to rescue him.

The fire started at just before 4 a.m. Thursday at a mobile home behind a house in the area of U.S. 60 and Happy Valley Road in Surprise.

Firefighters call the blaze a tragic accident, started by an appliance inside the home. Investigators said there was no sign of either standard smoke detectors or those with flashing lights that are designed specifically for the deaf.

The victim's father, who lives in the house front of the mobile home, called 911 and told them his son was trapped inside the burning trailer. By the time Surprise and Sun City fire crews arrived on the scene, the mobile home was fully engulfed in flames. Firefighters say mobile homes tend to burn extremely fast.

Crews immediately went defensive. They had to bring in water because the homes are located in a rural area and the nearest hydrant is about a mile away.

"It's harder on all of us to know when somebody's trapped and you can't do anything about it," said Doug Richardson of the Surprise Fire Department.

A neighbor told 3TV's Tess Rafols that the father did everything he possibly could to save his son, even breaking windows in his attempts to get to him, but the intense flames were just too much.

"He tried to get his boy out, but he couldn't get him out," Richard Posey said. "I can't imagine. I couldn't handle that, I don't think. That would be devastating -- just devastating. I know he's in bad shape."

While the father was not injured by the fire, he did suffer some cuts as he tried to save his son. He was taken to a local hospital for treatment.

The name of the victim has not been released.

Investigators on the scene are trying to determine exactly how the fire started. While they do not yet know what happened, they said electricity to the trailer came directly from the father's home. Investigators believe improper use of appliance might have been a factor.