Eugene Brown surveyed the burned out remnants of the Townsend-area mobile home he shared with his wife and took a deep breath.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do,” he said. “We’ve lost everything. My glasses, my wheels, my cell phone. They’re all gone. I don’t even know where our cat made it out alive.”
Brown and his wife, Lynn, lost nearly all of their possessions when a fire swept through their mobile home at 205 Eaton Drive in the Frederick Lodge Manufactured Home Community off of U.S. Route 13 just after 5 a.m. Thursday morning.
The couple managed to get out of the trailer before firefighters arrived, but Lynn was later taken to the Middletown Emergency Department for smoke inhalation.
Hours later, she remained at the emergency center where she was listed in stable condition.
“We were asleep in the bedroom when I woke up because I heard someone outside and thought it might be the cats that play on our deck,” Brown recalled, while neighbors worked to help him find a temporary cell phone he could use to begin piecing the couple’s life back together. “That’s when I smelled smoke.”
Brown said he opened windows in the mobile home’s bathroom and hallway while his wife dialed 911. By the time he reached the front door, she told him their deck was on fire.
“There were flames all around the outside and I was trying to get snow to throw on the fire,” he said. “I put one side out and went to the other side when it flared up again.”
The mobile home was fully engulfed by the time firefighters arrived about 5:30 a.m., according to Townsend Fire Chief Ray Barcus Jr.
The blaze caused significant damage to an unoccupied mobile home next door at 203 Eaton Drive. Neighbors said the owner of that property had moved out weeks ago, although many belongings still remained inside.
Brown said his Chevrolet S10 pickup truck also was lost to the flames and large chunks of the burning structure that fell onto the vehicle as firefighters were battling the blaze.
More than 75 firefighters from five area fire companies were able to bring the blaze under control by 6:30 a.m., Barcus said.
The state fire marshal’s office estimated the total damages to both mobile homes at $70,000.
Assistant state fire marshal Michael Chionchio said investigators are still trying to determine what caused the fire.
But Brown, who’s lived in the mobile home community since 1989, said he suspects foul play.
Page 2 of 2 - “I run the New Life With Jesus Christ Church and you’re looking at what was the chapel,” he said pointing the remains of his home. “I can think of a lot of reasons why someone might set fire to my home, like I’m a preacher and I think whoever did this doesn’t like God.”
The American Red Cross will be providing Brown and his wife with food, clothing and a hotel room for the next few days, spokeswoman Christine Maiese.
Brown said he has no idea what he and his wife will do after that.
“Right now, I’m still trying to figure out what’s going on,” he said. “I’m at a total loss.”