Edward Knight, a Poolesville sod farm employe, was returning home from his 46th birthday celebration early yesterday morning when he saw smoldering embers and the red lights of a fire truck in the distance.
"At first we thought it was the old barn next to our house," said Betty Knight, his wife of 26 years. "Ed ran as fast as he could up the dirt lane to see what was going on, but by the time he got there it was too late."
A fire, which officials said apparently had started from an exploding oil furnace, leveled the two-bedroom mobile home that the Knights shared with their two sons, Dale, 19, and David, 22, both of whom were away at the time of the fire. With the blaze went all their possessions.
The fire began just before midnight Saturday and was over shortly after that, fire officials said. Fireman Larry Lofland said there was not even a blaze to fight once the county fire trucks arrived on the scene off Rte. 107 near Poolesville. "The house was gone by the time we got there. There were just coals lying on the ground. It usually only takes 15 minutes for a mobile home to burn up."
Knight was so shaken he could barely talk yesterday. He said he had just paid off the mobile home mortgage last November, and the family is unsure whether their home is covered by fire insurance.
"There's nothing left except the frame," he said. "The only thing we've got left is what we got on and the pickup."
Said Betty Knight: "You never think of nothing like this until it happens to you. I've been crying since yesterday."
Knight earns earns $230 a week as a foreman for J.T. Patton and Sons turf farm. His mobile home was parked on the farm.
The family had lived in the Poolesville area for 26 years.
The Red Cross has provided the Knights with food, bedding and clothing, according to a Red Cross official. But until shelter can be found it is likely the Knights will have to stay in a daughter's apartment, with her husband and five children, Mrs. Knight said.
The woman at the Red Cross said they would pay a deposit and first month's rent, but that's it and on our salary we can't afford much," Mrs. Knight said.
"That home was a dream come true for us," said Ed Knight, who said the trailer cost about $12,000.
Of the possessions lost, Knight said the most important was the color television, and furniture that came with the home. "Now we ain't got nothing left," he said.