Maxwell Mobile Home Fire Burns Family Out of House

MAXWELL, Iowa  --  What started as a shed fire put multiple homes at risk in a mobile home park in Maxwell on Thursday night.

Cell phone video shot at the scene shows flames engulfing the back of a mobile home.  Amidst the crackling of wood and blaring of sirens, residents frantically speaking can be heard in the background.

The blaze started just before 8 p.m. At the time, it was contained to a shed behind the home.

“While we were in the process of getting to the fire station, we got informed that it was no longer just the shed that was on fire, it was the shed and the trailer on fire,” said Maxwell Fire Chief Tony Ness.

Ness said the family that lives there was able to get out safely, and the mild weather allowed crews to put the fire out relatively quickly.

“Wasn't terrible cold, wasn't terrible windy. Just a matter of getting out here and getting a whole lot of water dumped on it and get it knocked down,” he said.

Meanwhile, residents say neighborhood kids went door to door telling neighbors to get out in case the fire spread. The heat had already melted the siding of nearby trailers.

“He banged pretty loud so we didn't know what was going on, and when we got there he yelled, 'you gotta get outta here, there's a fire!’” said Sammy Waldrop, who lives three doors down.

Waldrop says the fire was a reality check for her family, taking stock of their own plans after everything settled down.

“My wife and I sit down and it was like, I think this taught us that we need an evacuation plan. We have four children, so nobody was prepared, nobody was ready. Took us a lot longer to get out of the house than we probably should have. Luckily enough it wasn't our house,” she said.

Ness said the family should be able to salvage some of their belongings from the front of the home and that the family is being assisted by the Red Cross.