Officials: Cigarette butt started mobile home fire
By Brian LiberatorePress & Sun-Bulletin
WEST CORNERS -- Fire investigators Tuesday said a discarded cigarette butt started a fire that destroyed a mobile home May 23, leaving three children and their mother homeless.
Virginia Roberts, 28, who has three young children and is expecting a fourth, left the butt burning in an ashtray that fell on her couch, said Tom Vroman, senior fire investigator with Broome County. Roberts left the trailer to attend to one of her children and likely forgot about the burning butt, Vroman said. Roberts said she had walked to a nearby relative's home, where she heard that her home was burning.
She went back to her mobile home, she said, but firefighters would not let her near the burning trailer for fear that the fumes and smoke could affect her pregnancy. The fire spread, damaging a neighboring mobile home. No one was injured in the blaze.
The Southern Tier Chapter of the American Red Cross paid for Roberts and her children to stay in a hotel five nights. The family is now searching for a new home. Roberts, who is disabled and does not work, said she did not have renter's insurance.
"... for fear that the fumes and smoke could affect her pregnancy"!?! When it was her cigarette that started the fire!?! And let's see, she was smoking while pregnant. Charming. And she doesn't work and she's on disability and she doesn't have renter's insurance and she's got three kids with a fourth on the way, but she sure could afford those cigarettes, couldn't she? Oh yeah, and no mention of a husband or of the children's father(s). This just has "white trash" written all over it. And it cracks me up. Because until you've lived in proximity to people like this, you have no idea how fucked up they really are.