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Trailer fire likely accidental

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PABLO — Authorities say a Dec. 26 fire that destroyed a mobile home in Pablo was most likely an accident.

While the Lake County Sheriff’s Office still had a few more witnesses to interview as of Thursday, Lt. Mike Sargeant said charges would probably not be filed in the case. Based on evidence at the scene and eyewitness accounts, detectives were able to narrow down the fire’s origin to the kitchen, he said.

“We have a place of origin, and we have a very good reason for why the fire started,” Sargeant said. “It’s most likely an accidental fire.”

When Ronan volunteer firefighters arrived just after 7 p.m. Dec. 26 at Northwood Trailer Park No. 3, they found the trailer completely engulfed in flames. Witnesses said they believed a female resident of the house was inside the burning structure, and firefighters searched the home for two and a half hours before the missing woman was located at St. Luke Community Hospital in Ronan. She had been at a friend’s house, Sargeant said, and the confusion as to her whereabouts stemmed from the fact that residents of the house had been drinking excessively.

"Obviously, people were intoxicated and not knowing where each other were," Sargeant said.

A domestic dispute had occurred between a male and a female resident of the home earlier in the evening, and 28-year-old Dustin Gardipe had allegedly threatened to set fire to the house.

That led the Sheriff’s office to investigate arson as the possible cause of the fire, but now it seems that the blaze was not started intentionally, Sargeant explained.

Gardipe was arrested on an aggravated assault warrant unrelated to the Dec. 26 incident and was arraigned on that charge Jan. 12 in Lake County District Court.

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