Piles of warped metal were all that remained Tuesday of the house that stood before a fire swept over it and eight other structures Monday at Wade’s Trailer Court.
Wade’s Trailer Court resident Casey Johnson searched the remains of his house Tuesday morning for the keys to his motorcycle — which he didn’t find — the only thing saved from the property before it was lost.
“Pretty much the only thing left was metal and anything that didn’t burn,” Johnson said. “(The heat from the fire was so intense) it made my cast iron hot enough that it actually warped.”
Around 11 a.m. Monday, Laramie Fire Department and Albany County Fire District No. 1 firefighters responded to a call regarding a structure fire at the trailer court, LFD Shift Cmdr. Kevin Lam said at a meeting
“The first engine got there and they saw a significant amount of smoke and flames and the fire was already spreading to adjacent structures,” Lam said. “Winds were in the 40 miles per hour range strong out of the west and this became a wind-driven fire that eventually encompassed many more structures.”
An investigation by the LFD and Wyoming Fire Marshall’s Office revealed the fire was started by a resident who was attempting to thaw his water lines, LFD Company Officer William Bershinsky said.
“(An) occupant was attempting to thaw water lines (in one of the) trailers after one of our cold spells that we had,” Bershinsky said. “He was using a propane space heater as well as an electric space heater and that caught an adjacent combustible wood structure on fire, and then the west wind really enhanced the spread of that fire.”
Several organizations such as United Way of Albany County and Interfaith-Good Samaritan are working to help those affected by the blaze, United Way Executive Director Paul Heimer said. He said it would cost about $20,000 to provide people with housing, medical assistance and other basic needs.
“We are going to pool our money that we get as donations for the fire to provide housing (and other necessities),” Heimer said. “If we have eight families and we have to do first month and security deposit so that is $1,500 per family to get them a $750 rental leased.”
He said people can donate by going to www.unitedwayalbanycounty.org using a credit card or donations can be brought to the organization. Heimer said donations that are designated to be used for the victims of the fire can only be used for that purpose.
“People want to know how they can help (those) who lost their homes,” Heimer said.
“Right now, the best thing is cash contributions, either to Interfaith-Good Samaritan or to the United Way.”