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Three dead in Riverview mobile home fire

RIVERVIEW — Three people died when a fire swept though their Riverview mobile home early Saturday morning, authorities said.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office identified the victims as Mindy Watts, 51, Timothy Watts, 50, and Mindy's mother, Rona Molin, 71. All three were asleep in their mobile home at 11901 Gordon Drive when it caught on fire.

Neighbors Steven Montalvo, 35, and Pamela Leathers, 36, said another neighbor ran over to their house yelling about a fire just before 6 a.m. The neighbor had heard a loud boom, they said.

Montalvo ran inside his house and yelled for Leathers to call 911.

"Mindy, Mindy," Leathers remembers her boyfriend yelling, "Fire, fire!"

Montalvo grabbed a fire extinguisher and ran across the street to the burning home. Another neighbor was trying to douse flames near an air conditioner, he said.

The front door was locked, Montalvo said, so he started banging on the metal siding near the bedroom where he thought the family slept.

"I was just trying to wake them up," he said.

It was too late. When sheriff's deputies and Hillsborough Fire Rescue arrived at the scene, the house was engulfed in flames.

By 9 a.m. Saturday, family members were clustered together near the mobile home, an off-white unit with a wooden porch. A plastic playground sat in the front yard, and small toys were scattered on the ground. Relatives at the scene said only that the victims were from Riverview.

Montalvo and Leathers remembered Mindy and Timothy Watts as friendly and helpful. Leathers said most people on the street know each other and look out for one another.

"I talked to them almost every day," Leathers said. "They were really good people."

The cause of the fire hasn't been determined, but the Sheriff's Office does not suspect foul play. The state fire marshal and sheriff's detectives are investigating.

Three dead in Riverview mobile home fire 07/24/10 [Last modified: Saturday, July 24, 2010 9:52pm]
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