A fire that destroyed a mobile home Tuesday on East Ridge Road in Cornville has left a man and his young daughter homeless.

Cotey Wheeler, 23, and his daughter, Jazzlyn, 5, were not at home when the fire broke out just after 2 p.m., according to Cotey’s father, Louis Wheeler Jr., who lives in a house about 30 feet from the mobile home at 773 East Ridge Road.

Louis Wheeler said the pipes had frozen in the trailer and he placed a space heater under the bathroom of the trailer to try to thaw them, and his son put an electric heater inside the bathroom itself. Louis Wheeler said he was inside his own house when the fire broke out in the trailer, which was uninsured.

“My satellite stopped working and I went out and looked at the satellite and saw smoke and fire, and I shot it with a fire extinguisher, but it was too far engulfed and I called 911,” he said.

The Cornville Fire Department arrived quickly at the scene, but half the home already was destroyed, he said.

He said his son and his granddaughter had lived in the trailer about five years and lost everything in the fire. He said he does not know where they will live now.

Fire Chief Ken Hogate said Wednesday that firefighters were unaware Tuesday that people were living in the mobile home and the American Red Cross was not called. He said the fire appears to have started under the trailer, where the space heater was.

Alan Nickerson, Cornville’s deputy fire chief, leaves the mobile home at 773 East Ridge Road in Cornville, which was destroyed by fire Tuesday. Nickerson said the homeowners are not insured and the fire was the result of thawing out frozen water pipes. Firefighting crews from Athens, Cornville, Madison and Skowhegan responded.

Twenty to 25 firefighters from Cornville, Skowhegan, Athens and East Madison worked at the scene, he said. The home was destroyed.

“It’s not fixable,” he said.

He urged people to be careful when thawing pipes. If a heat source is used, it should be away from anything that is flammable, and a person should remain there while the heat source is on and even afterward to monitor the site, he said. An option is to try to thaw pipes with rags soaked in hot water, he said.

“A lot of plumbers can thaw them out. They do it all the time, and they have different methods they can use,” Hogate said.

Meanwhile, Louis Wheeler said the water for his house came from the trailer, so he has no water now and is trying to figure out what he will do.

“I got a lot of friends and people helping me out,” he said.

Wheeler also urged people to be careful when thawing pipes.

“It’s one of those stupid things, and it happened quick,” he said. “People need to pay attention.”

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

Alan Nickerson, Cornville’s deputy fire chief, leaves the mobile home at 773 East Ridge Road in Cornville, which was destroyed by fire Tuesday. Nickerson said the homeowners are not insured and the fire was the result of thawing out frozen water pipes. Firefighting crews from Athens, Cornville, Madison and Skowhegan responded.

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