ROME — A Wooster Hill Road woman and her four young children escaped without injury Thursday when a fire sparked by a clothes-dryer gutted their mobile home.

Rome Fire Chief Gary Foss said Shannon Wellington and her children, ages 4 to 13, were all home at the time of the fire, which broke out around 5 a.m. All were able to escape safely.

“I think they had a smoke detector in the house, but I don’t know if it was working,” Foss said. “I think the smoke woke them up.”

Two of the family’s three cats were still missing Thursday evening.

Wellington tried to put the fire out with an extinguisher, Foss said. The origin of the fire is not considered suspicious, he said.

“We looked at the dryer and found it started in the back,” he said.

Wellington and her children were staying with a friend on Thursday. Foss called the American Red Cross to offer temporary housing, clothes and other necessities.

Foss is not sure who owns the mobile home at 443 Wooster Hill Road.

“The shell is still standing but it’s well gutted,” Foss said.

The fire spread quickly and smoke and flames were clearly visible from the outside when the first firefighters arrived, he said.

Firefighters from Belgrade, Oakland, Sidney and Smithfield helped Rome with the fire. Despite a very good turnout of firefighters, Foss said the work was slowed by inadequate water supplies at two of the town’s three hydrants. The two problem hydrants are fed by small streams that running low due to a lack of snow and rain. The third hydrant at the Smithfield town line is fed by a larger stream and had sufficient water.

“It probably put us 10 miles from the scene,” Foss said of the hydrants. “The others would have been five or six miles.”

Foss said the family escaped with nothing more than the clothes they were wearing.

“The sad part for me is we weren’t able to save anything for them,” Foss said.

Craig Crosby — 621-5642

[email protected]

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