Fatal Evergreen House Fire Ruled an Accident

By Beacon Staff

Fire officials confirmed on Monday that faulty wiring caused a fatal Evergreen trailer house fire.

Earlier reports suggested arson was to blame, but Evergreen Fire Chief Craig Williams said the Flathead County Fire Investigation Team determined there was no foul play.

Sgt. Jim Browder of the Flathead County Sheriff’s Department, who is also a deputy coroner, identified the victim as Rodney A. Nelson.

Nelson, 52, was found in the kitchen after fire crews tried numerous times to enter the trailer but were pushed back by heavy smoke and heat, Williams said.

The fire was reported at 8:08 a.m., Williams said, and an Evergreen Fire Rescue engine was on scene with a four-man crew within seven minutes. Williams reported heavy fire and smoke coming out of the windows when the engine arrived.

“We received information that there was possibly an occupant trapped,” Williams said. A 3-person interior attack crew attempted to enter through the front door, but the fire was too hot, Williams said.

It took 20 to 25 minutes to put out the blaze from outside the trailer, Williams said.

“Those older mobile homes, they go up so quickly,” Williams said.

No other property was damaged in the blaze. The Kalispell Fire Department, the South Kalispell Volunteer Fire Department, the Flathead County Sheriff’s Department and Flathead Electric Co-op were also on scene.

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