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Local News

Body Found Inside Burning Mobile Home in Lompoc

Fire in 800 block of O Street threatened nearby structures before being knocked down

An elderly person was found dead Thursday inside this mobile home that was destroyed by fire. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

[Scroll down to see video of the fire]

Firefighters who responded early Thursday to a raging mobile home fire discovered the body of an elderly man inside the structure, according to the Lompoc Fire Department.

Crews from Lompoc, Santa Barbara County and Vandenberg Air Force Base were called out shortly before 2 a.m., and found a single-wide mobile home engulfed in flames in the 800 block of North O St., said Lompoc Fire Chief Keith Latipow.

The fire was threatening nearby mobile homes, and firefighters took aggressive action to knock down the flames, Latipow said.

"During initial attack, search crews located the body of an elderly adult who was obviously deceased," Latipow said.

The victim was identified as Douglas Arthur Garbers, Latipow said, adding that investigators determined the blaze was accidental.

An autopsy was planned by the county coroner to determine the cause of death, Latipow said.

Neighbors used hoses to try to control the flames before fire crews arrived.

Jennifer Cloud, who was still shaken by the incident hours later, recalled small explosions as neighbors directed hoses at the fire and nearby residences to protect the fire from spreading. She said she helped make sure those who lived closest to the burning mobile home weren't still inside and in danger in their own residences.

"I'm just overwhelmed," Cloud said.

Flames reached as high as the power lines, she said. 

"It was pretty intense, " Cloud added.

Garbers kept to himself, she said.

The county District Attorney's Arson Task Force was called in to assist Lompoc Fire and Police Departments in the investigation, Latipow said.

Noozhawk North County Editor Janene Scully reported from the scene.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

7-31-14 Lompoc-Structure-Fire (854 x 480) copy from Noozhawk on Vimeo.

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