Trailer fire leaves Arkville family homeless

By Pauline Liu
Four members of an extended family are receiving help from the community, relatives and the Red Cross, after being left homeless by a smoky clothes dryer fire that destroyed their Margaretville trailer home on October 30.

The four, including the homeowner, lived at 47 Fred Circle in Glen Acres. Dana Baker explained she bought her trailer six years ago and it was uninsured.

“I was just in the middle of trying to get insurance—all kinds of insurance—when the flood hit in August,” she said, as she stood across the road, watching wide-eyed as her home burned. Her arms were wrapped around her nine-year-old granddaughter, Taylor, who lived with her.

When the blaze broke out in the dryer shortly before 2:30 p.m., Baker’s trailer was filled with several relatives of all ages. Her cousin, Terry Maxim was there, because her parents, 71-year-old Allen and 67-year-old Kathy, were in the process of moving in with Baker, who is unemployed. “We saw smoke coming out of the dryer, so we unplugged the dryer and shut off the gas, but as you can see that didn’t help,” said Maxim. Relatives called 911 and evacuated the trailer. They also assisted Allen Maxim out of the home, because he was in a wheelchair.

The fire alarm brought mutual aid from Margaretville and about 30 fire personnel to the scene of the blaze. According to Arkville Fire Assistant Chief Noel Amundsen, the fire was started in the dryer and he believes the cause of the blaze was a clogged dryer vent. He explained that the trailer sustained substantial smoke and water damage. Delaware County 911 Coordinator Steve Finch contacted the Red Cross on behalf of the family.

For now, Baker, her granddaughter, her aunt and uncle are staying with relatives. Many of their belongings have been smoke and water damaged and need to be replaced.

Pastor Shirley Davis of the Margaretville Presbyterian Church offered to help the family with clothing and household items. The church still has some donations, which were originally collected for flood victims. Volunteers from the Margaretville Hospital Auxiliary have also offered the family their help.