Post Falls fire deemed suspicious - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Post Falls fire deemed suspicious

Blaze destroys two mobile homes in park being shut down

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Posted: Tuesday, August 21, 2012 12:15 am

POST FALLS - The fire that destroyed two mobile homes on Saturday night at a Post Falls park that's being shut down is believed to be suspicious, according to investigators.

The homes at the El Rancho Mobile Home Park at the northwest corner of Highway 41 and Mullan Avenue were vacant, said Shaena Dunn, Kootenai County Fire and Rescue spokeswoman.

No injuries were reported.

Dunn said there have been problems of vandalism and theft in recent days at the park.

"We don't know how the fire started, but it's being called suspicious because nobody was there, the gas was off and no appliances were plugged in," Dunn said.

Dunn said the home where the fire started - No. 60 - sustained vandalism damage about a week ago.

No arrests have been made.

"As far as we know, no one was seen leaving the buildings," Dunn said.

The fire at the 50-year-old park at 3957 E. Mullan Ave. was reported at 6:28 p.m.

When a Kootenai County deputy arrived, the home where the fire started was engulfed in flames. Nearby residents were evacuated from their homes as a precaution.

KCFR will collaborate with the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office on the investigation.

Two other homes were threatened by the fire, but were spared by firefighters.

Coeur d'Alene Fire, Northern Lakes and Avista Utilities assisted KCFR in the incident.

Five or six spaces remain occupied at the 70-lot, 8.7-acre park despite residents earlier being told to move out by July 31. Other homes have either been moved or abandoned.

Residents were served a six-month park closure notice earlier this year.

Some of the tenants weren't able to move the structures because they are too old or the residents couldn't muster the estimated $4,500 moving cost.

If the home was built before June 15, 1976, under state law, it must go through a rehabilitation process, which can be cost-prohibitive in some cases.

The park site is considered prime commercial ground since it's at one of the busiest intersections in North Idaho.

Bob Kirkpatrick, who owned the property for 29 years, and RMM Investments sold it five years ago for $3.32 million to a group of developers/investors called 41 and Mullan Investments, LLC.

Last winter Vandervert Developments and five other partner investors parted ways and split their properties. FF, LLC acquired El Rancho.

Randall Probasco, a Coeur d'Alene attorney representing FF, LLC, couldn't be reached for comment on Monday.

Probasco earlier said the park's closure was due to the aging and deterioration of the park's infrastructure, which can lead to health issues. The park is also not adequate for new units, he said.

Plans for the site have not been announced.

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  • my own opinion posted at 6:45 pm on Tue, Aug 21, 2012.

    my own opinion Posts: 397

    Not all parks are ratty but that park was very ratty. The park on Honeysuckle in Hayden by the new Walmart Is old and disgusting. The leisure world and Heather-stone neighborhoods are very nice modular homes that have ratty homes next to them. Their is another ratty one on Ramsey going to the airport near the gas station. it does not matter how old the camper trailer is if you take care of it and the surrounding area and not store garbage/junk all over people may not force a shutdown of your park. If you are on hard financial times it does not mean you have to live dirty and not keep what you have tidy. poor does not mean dirty. I have seen properties that people with money have and they are soooooo nasty dirty. show pride in your neighborhood. I'm sorry this happened to Rancho. I know no-one who lived there. I guess the banks if any money was owed will still go after the ones who lived there and left their units. most likely just shells no value other than the shelter it provided to those who may very well be homeless. could the red cross have helped?

  • mister d posted at 9:17 am on Tue, Aug 21, 2012.

    mister d Posts: 1531

    Easier to burn them than move them.

  • My2sence posted at 8:07 am on Tue, Aug 21, 2012.

    My2sence Posts: 317

    "Suspicious"? thats an understatement. To me, it sounds like it was a huge GET OUT NOW ! sign, but, I don't wanna jump to conclusions, I'll have to wait for the "investigation", which will more than likely come back as ..."silly kid's just goofin round with matches" right Probasco?

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