Fire at mobile home park sparks concern as wires entangled with trees raise safety alarms

Residents in Rivera Beach, Florida, are expressing their concerns about the potential for another fire at a mobile home park following a devastating incident in December. Margarita Somers, who lost her home in the previous fire, shared cellphone footage with WPTV that showed explosions and sparks along an electrical wire at the Ocean Tide Mobile Home Park. The sparks ignited a tree, which then fell onto Somers’ home. Now, neighbors fear that their homes could suffer a similar fate, as the power lines are intertwined with trees and foliage.

The severity of the situation is evident in the video shared by Somers, who has been residing at 51 Chateau Circle since 2008. In an interview, she expressed her distress, stating, “My house is terrible. Everything is ruined. I don’t know what to do. But, maybe somebody will help me start again.” The gravity of the incident is further emphasized by the fact that the property manager had requested work to clear trees from the road in November, just a month before the fire occurred.

Florida Power & Light (FPL), the company responsible for the power lines, claims to thoroughly investigate each case and evaluate them on their own merits. However, FPL spokesperson Conlan Kennedy declined to comment due to the company’s privacy policy regarding customer information. Despite witnessing crews clearing trees near Somers’ home, Jim Miller, another resident of the mobile home park, remains concerned about the potential for another fire during a storm. Miller highlights the dangerous mix of power lines within the trees throughout the property.

Miller shares his worry, stating, “These places are tinderboxes. I think anybody who had a fire hazard over your head lives in fear of something happening.” The sentiment is echoed by Pearl Brown, who frequently parks her camper at the mobile home park to visit her daughter. Brown confides that she feels concerned almost every day, emphasizing that the lack of attention to basic infrastructure makes the situation unlike any other neighborhood in America.

Brown questions the safety of the power lines mixed with trees, stating, “I’m not an electrician. But does that look safe to you? We may experience what our neighbor did: lose our trailer. And there’s nothing, literally nothing anybody could do about the situation.” Brown emphasizes that while their camper is just a recreational vehicle, many others are living in their homes within the park. Additionally, a significant number of residents do not speak English.

Efforts to obtain information and assistance from the Rivera Beach Fire Department have been unsuccessful, as WPTV reached out to them starting on Monday but did not receive a response by the time of publication. As residents continue to live in fear of another potentially devastating fire, it remains unclear what actions will be taken to address the hazardous situation at the Ocean Tide Mobile Home Park in Rivera Beach.

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