Early morning blaze guts home near I-75

Alachua County Fire Marshal Mike Kelley inspects the scene of a fire that ripped through an unoccupied mobile home Friday.

(DOUG FINGER/The Gainesville Sun)
Published: Saturday, January 25, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 25, 2003 at 1:18 a.m.
An early morning fire gutted a mobile home near Interstate 75 Friday, sending smoke skyward and residents scurrying to protect property in a southwest Gainesville community.
Alachua County Fire Rescue responded to a blaze at 8:36 a.m. after homeowners in the Clayton Estates mobile home park near Tower Road reported flames engulfing a trailer at 521 Kings Court.
"When we arrived there was smoke and fire coming from underneath," said Justin Lagotic, Alachua County Fire Rescue spokesman.
Lagotic said the trailer was owned by Lynne Kirkland, 45, and was used for storage. Utilities had been cut from the trailer years ago, neighbors said, and Kirkland lives in a trailer next door.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, Lagotic said. No injuries were reported.
C.J. Cooper, 31, whose father-in-law owns the mobile home adjacent to the trailer, said he awoke to flames just feet from his family's home.
"We tried to get the cats out from inside our trailer," Cooper said. "We were trying to evacuate."
Glancing toward mounds of still-smoldering clothes, he added, "It's just scary when it's right next door."
Kirkland had spent the evening in a hotel to avoid Thursday evening's near-record lows, and was not home when the fire started, Lagotic said.

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