Sunday, March 3

People concerned about fire at mobile home park due to wires mixed with trees

Numerous residents are concerned about a possible fire happening at a mobile home park in Rivera Beach after one in December.

Margarita Somers lost her home, and cellphone video provided to WPTV from neighbors shows explosions and sparks along an electrical wire at the Ocean Tide Mobile Home Park. The video shows the sparks setting a tree on fire, which fell on her home at 51 Chateau Circle.

Neighbors are concerned their home could face a similar fate since the power lines are mixed in within trees and other foliage.

“My house is terrible,” Somers said in December. “Everything is ruined. I don’t know what to do. But, maybe somebody will help me to start again.”

An email shows the property manager for the park asked Florida Power & Light to “schedule work” on the road to clear trees in November, which was about a month before the fire.

Conlan Kennedy, who is a spokesperson for FPL, said it investigates the specifics of each case and evaluates those cases on their own merits based on the facts and circumstances in each situation in an email. But he said he couldn’t comment due to the company’s privacy policy regarding customer information.

Jim Miller, who lives at the park, said he watched crews clear trees and from the transformer and wires near Somers home. He said he’s still concerned about another fire from a storm because power lines are mixed in the trees along other parts of the property.

“These places are tinder boxes, Miller said. “I think anybody who had a fire hazard over your head lives in fear of something happening.”

Pearl Brown, who said she parks her camper to visit her daughter from Michigan, said she feels concerned almost every day. She said it doesnt look like what you’ll see in any neighborhood in America where basic infrastructure was addressed.

Im not an electrician. But does that look safe to you,” she asked WPTV’s Ethan Stein. “We may experience what our neighbor did: lose our trailer. And theres nothing, literally nothing anybody could do about the situation.

Brown said their camper is just a recreational vehicle, but many people are living at the park in their homes. She also said many of the people don’t speak English.

WPTV reached out to the Rivera Beach Fire Department starting on Monday and didn’t hear back by publication.

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