Niagara Gazette

Crime

November 12, 2012

Another fire at Sabre Park

Niagara Gazette — TOWN OF NIAGARA — Another suspicious fire is under investigation at Sabre Park.

Firefighters from Niagara Active Hose Volunteer Fire Co. and two other local fire companies responded to a blaze that gutted one of several mobile homes that have been vacated amid an ongoing transition in ownership of the site.

Niagara Active Hose Assistant Chief Shawn Jasper said Monday fire crews arrived on the scene just after 2 p.m. to find the trailer "fully involved." Jasper said no one was inside the trailer at the time and no injuries were reported. The trailer was a total loss. 

The blaze is being investigated by the Niagara County Origin and Cause Team and the Niagara County Sheriff's Department, according to Jasper who said investigators are looking into eyewitness reports that a tenant who had been evicted from the mobile home visited the scene the day before. 

"Right now, it's an open investigation," Jasper said. 

Monday's fire is the second identified as having a suspicious cause at Sabre Park in less than six months. On June 18, a fire at the property's management building caused an estimated $100,000 damage. Sheriff's Department investigators and Town of Niagara Police Chief James Suitor both said that blaze was intentionally set and it still remains under investigation as an arson. 

Occupancy at Sabre Park has dwindled considerably in recent months amid speculation that the property was being sold to another owner. Last month, the new owners of the adjacent Fashion Outlets of Niagara purchased the park for $4 million at a foreclosure auction. The park, which once housed several hundred mobile park owners, is now down to less than 30 by Jasper's estimation. 

Several former tenants abandoned their mobile homes on-site and Jasper said many of those trailers have since been stripped of copper and other metal, creating potential fire hazards for firefighters. As a result, he said, Niagara Active Hose has adopted a policy that when responding to blazes at Sabre Park, firefighters are not to enter any structure, but rather fight fires from the outside only. 

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