A fire that started in the kitchen of a trailer house in Meadows spread quickly on Friday morning, filling the trailer with smoke, which led to extensive damage to the residence, and 11 chickens and one rabbit perishing from the smoke.

Alliance Volunteer Fire Department Chief Troy Shoemaker said firefighters were dispatched to the scene at 9:39 a.m.

“We arrived at roughly 9:46 (a.m.),” said Shoemaker. “We had a firetruck, our aerial ladder, a command truck and at one point we had an ambulance on scene. We had a total of 12 firefighters there. While we were in route, we were contacted by dispatch saying that the kitchen of the trailer was fully involved. When I arrived on scene with the Alliance Police Department already there, we had fire coming out of the north window, the east window and the door on the east side, which is the main entry door into the trailer.”

Shoemaker said their engine dropped a five-inch water supply from a fire hydrant on Buffalo to the B row of Meadows. A three-person entry crew assembled to start extinguishing the fire.

“We had a pretty quick knock down of the active fire inside the kitchen,” Shoemaker said. “We pulled some metal sheeting from the outside, which opened up the north end of the trailer. It acted as a ventilation point for us, which really cleared out the smoke from the trailer at that point.”

Shoemaker said the occupants went inside the residence after discovering it was filled with smoke and retrieved two dogs. The trailer is considered a total loss.

Shoemaker said an investigation from the State Fire Marshal’s Office determined the fire to be accidental in nature.

“We believe it was caused by radiant heat from the stove that was used earlier in the morning to cook breakfast,” said Shoemaker. “The occupant and the daughter took her son to school and ran some errands and then came back home, and that’s when they noticed that the house was full of smoke, and they immediately called 911 for the fire department. They had an operating smoke detector in the trailer, which is a good thing.”

Shoemaker cautioned people against going inside of a building when there is an active fire, noting that it could be deadly.

“Your life is not worth saving a picture or a pet,” said Shoemaker. “We recommend against going into a structure full of smoke. On the flip side of that, I understand what people are thinking. For a lot of people, their pets are family. They really don’t see a difference between their pet or a child, or anything else. Just know that we recommend against that. We understand what you’re going through. Just be careful. It’s easier to replace a home and contents, but we can’t help replace you or a family member.”

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