Nisland man dies in trailer home fire - KOTA Territory News

UPDATE: Sheriff points to smoking materials in Nisland fire

Posted: Updated: March 15, 2013 11:16 AM

UPDATE 3-15

Fire Investigators say there is a strong possibility that the fire that killed Gerald Streb, 59, was caused by smoking material, like a cigarette.  Butte County Sheriff Fred Lamphere says investigators know the fire started in the living room couch.  They have ruled out electrical issues, and believe since Streb was a smoker, that smoking material is the most likely cause.

 

**

Tuesday afternoon fire consumed a Nisland trailer home, and the man inside, Gerald Streb, 59, did not make it out alive.

Neighbors in the tight-knit community said smoke coming out of the trailer turned into flames and destroyed the home in a matter of seconds.  

"The neighbor guy come out and he tried to get in the front door and the smoke was just so bad that we couldn't get in or anything," said next door neighbor Robert Lange.

Nisland volunteer firefighters arrived on the scene minutes later and quickly worked to stop the fire from moving to the next door neighbor's home.  

"I seen the grass start on fire coming towards my place," said Lange. The northwest winds and dry conditions had neighbors preparing for worst. Lange said he moved his dogs out.

The cause is still under investigation, but investigators believe the fire started in the living room.   "Could have been anything from an ashtray to maybe a faulty fan," said Butte County Sheriff Fred Lamphere.

While the state fire marshal's office works to determine the cause, neighbors and other community members will do what small towns do best and support each other. 

"In this area, this neighborhood everybody knows everyone," said Sheriff Lamphere, "And the fire, it impacts the whole neighborhood and community here." 

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