Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Fire destroys Clearwater mobile home

CLEARWATER — Fire destroyed a mobile home late Wednesday morning, sending a column of black smoke into the air and prompting a response from more than 20 fire-rescue units.

No one was injured, but the double-wide at 2669 Teakwood Drive in Japanese Garden Mobile Estates was left a smoldering ruin.

Owners David and Juanita Darnold, both 68, were not at home when the fire started.

David Darnold said his wife called him at work at 9 a.m. and asked him to come home because she smelled a sewer-like "gassy" smell. When David got home, the couple left with their dog, a 9-year-old Shih Tzu named Lucky, and went to a nearby McDonald's on U.S. 19. A short time later, a neighbor called to say the home was on fire.

"By the time we got here, it was gone,'' David Darnold said.

The couple has owned the home for six years, he said.

Elba Alicea, 38, who was visiting a friend in the park, said she drove by the fire as she came back from shopping.

"It just went up like that,'' she said, snapping her fingers. "It was just engulfed. It was coming out of the windows. It was a very scary thing to see.''

Two neighbors said they heard an explosion.

Juanita Darnold was taken to a hospital with chest pains after the incident.

Clearwater Fire and Rescue was called to the scene about 11:15 a.m. Firefighters were able to keep the fire from spreading to adjacent units, said Clearwater public safety spokeswoman Beth Watts.

"Luckily, it's not too windy," Watts said.

The blaze was brought under control in about 20 minutes, but the home was a total loss, Watts said.

About two dozen neighbors milled around outside. One couple offered to drive David Darnold to the hospital to be with his wife. A woman stroked Lucky's head and offered to "doggy sit" for as long as the couple needed her.

And park managers Stephen and Linda Lyle readied another unit for the couple.

Linda Lyle put her hand on David Darnold's shoulder. "Don't worry about anything except you and your wife," she said.

Linda Lyle and others said they planned to start collecting donations of clothes and money Wednesday afternoon.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation Wednesday afternoon, Watts said.

Rita Farlow can be reached at or (727) 445-4157.

Fire destroys Clearwater mobile home 09/29/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 29, 2010 7:26pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. After Irma topples tree, home sale may be gone with the wind

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — To house hunters searching online, the home for sale in St. Petersburg's Shore Acres neighborhood couldn't have looked more appealing — fully renovated and shaded by the leafy canopy of a magnificent ficus benjamini tree.

    Hurricane Irma's winds recently blew over a large ficus tree, left, in the yard of a home at 3601Alabama Ave NE, right, in Shore Acres which is owned by Brett Schroder who is trying to sell the house.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  2. Bucs' Josh Robinson excited for return to Vikings


    For much of Josh Robinson's four seasons with the Vikings, there was excitement leading up to the arrival of the $1.1-billion U.S. Bank Stadium, which opened last season, just as Robinson signed with the …

    Josh Robinson (26) tackles Chicago punt returner Eddie Royal (19) during a game between the Bucs and Bears in 2016. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  3. For starters: Rays at Orioles, meeting up with ex-mate Tim Beckham


    The Rays open their final roadtrip of the season tonight in Baltimore, and - continuing the theme of the week - willl cross paths with another familiar face, INF Tim Beckham.

    Tim Beckham made a smashing debut with the Orioles, hitting .394 with six homers and 19 RBIs in August.
  4. Unemployment claims double in Florida after Hurricane Irma


    The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits dropped by 23,000 last week to 259,000 as the economic impact of Hurricane Harvey began to fade.

    Homes destroyed by Hurricane Irma on Big Pine Key last week. Hurricane Irma continued to have an impact on the job market in Florida, where unemployment claims more than doubled from the previous week.
[The New York Times file photo]
  5. Clearwater Marine Aquarium receives $500,000 gift

    Human Interest

    CLEARWATER — The R.O. Jacobson Foundation donated $500,000 on Tuesday to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium's major expansion.

    The Clearwater Marine Aquarium received a $500,000 donation from the R.O. Jacobson Foundation toward its $66 million expansion.. [JIM DAMASKE   |   Times]