House fire caused by motorcycle backfire

August 2, 2018

The cause of a Monday house fire in the 3000 block of North Palo Verde Boulevard was determined to be accidental.

Occurring around 1:15 p.m., the fire was contained to the home’s two-car garage and attic and caused extensive heat and smoke damage throughout the remainder of the residence, according to a Lake Havasu City Fire Department press release. The occupants evacuated the home safely and there were no reported injuries to firefighters or civilians, the document states.

Jerry Rollings, one of the home’s occupants at the time of the fire, said he was working on a recently purchased motorcycle in the home’s garage prior to the fire. He was able to start the motorcycle but, upon hitting the gas, it backfired and shot out flames, he stated.

“I tried to put it out but then the gas line melted and gas went everywhere and it just got out of control before I could do anything,” said Rollings. “It was really scary, I was in the garage and it was closed pretty much except for like a foot, the bottom of the door was open, so I was stuck in there pretty much for a second.”

According to Rollings, a male friend – the home’s renter – let him stay at the residence after his mother, and his only family in Havasu, passed away last year. His friend – who he did not name – was not home at the time of Monday’s incident but a female friend was, he said.

“It was really nice of him (to let Rollings stay at the home) and I feel horrible about this whole thing, he let me stay there and now he has nothing too,” said Rollings. “I really don’t know what I’m going to do, the Red Cross gave me a little bit of money and I stayed at the hotel for the last two nights but that’s over now so I’m not too sure.”

Havasu resident Sean Brown Sr., Rollings’ friend and Flying X Saloon coworker, started a GoFundMe account on Rollings and his roommate’s behalf Monday evening. Titled “’X’ Family Member In Need,” the account has raised $575 of its $2,000 goal by Wednesday evening.

“I’m unable to help financially, as much as I’d like to, but I felt that I needed to do something to help my brother out,” stated Brown Sr. “I’m not sure what ‘goal’ to set financially, but I’m just hoping that I can raise enough to help them get back on their feet.”

Sgt. Tom Gray of the Lake Havasu City Police Department reported that no citations were issued in relation to the fire.

“We just did traffic control on that fire,” he stated.

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