An electrical fire at a mobile home on Tuesday has left a Bradenton couple homeless.
At 4:24 p.m. Tuesday, a fire in one of the mobile homes in the W.T. Mobile Home Park, 3708 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton, was reported by a passer-by. It took 17 firefighters and two fire engines about 10 minutes to get the blaze under control.
The smell of smoke still lingered mid-Wednesday morning as Pearline Nicholas, 59, and her live-in boyfriend Clifton Coppock, 56, sat outside their charred home with family and neighbors.
The couple had been home watching TV on their porch, they said, when the fire sparked. Nicholas had just finished reheating some chili, and Coppock asked her if something was burning.
The stove was off, she remembering telling him after double-checking. It was after he asked her again, and she checked the stove once more that Nicholas says she saw black smoke billowing up.
“We’re on fire. We’re on fire,” Nicholas said she shouted to Coppock.
She then began calling out for their Chihuahua, Lily, as Coppock dashed inside in an attempt to savage some of their belongings. But all he managed to get were the keys to their car.
“We lost everything,” Cappock said.
The couple said they were told bad wiring was to blame, but West Manatee Fire and Rescue, which investigated the cause of the fire, said that was not accurate. The fire was caused by an electrical overload for that unit, according to Fire Marshal Jim Davis.
“There were several extension cords running industrial type fans, ceiling fans and TVs,” Davis said.
Davis said they found no evidence that bad wiring was to blame, but added, “the whole complex is old.”
This was the third fire West Manatee has recently responded to at W.T. Mobile Home Park, according to Davis. While this fire appeared to be an accident, the previous two appeared like they could have been intentionally started, he said.