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Couple, pets escape Huntington Beach mobile home fire

October 22, 2011 | 12:29 pm

A couple that had survived a hurricane in Florida and riots in South Africa narrowly escaped death in Huntington Beach when their mobile home caught fire Saturday morning.

Arnold and Marlene Steele were awakened by their adult son, Nathan, who sleeps at their mobile home and was himself awakened by smoke coming from the rear of the unit at Huntington Shorecliffs Mobile Home Park, 20701 Beach Blvd., shortly before 6 a.m., said Jeff Lopez, spokesman for the Huntington Beach Fire Department.

The unit did not have a functioning smoke detector. “They fortunately got out OK, but if they’d had a functioning smoke detector, they could have gotten out sooner,” Lopez said.

Lopez said the couple told firefighters they’d also survived a hurricane in Sarasota, Fla., and riots in Johannesburg, South Africa, before moving to Huntington Beach 20 years ago.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, though foul play is not suspected, Lopez said. No one was hurt in the fire.

Also saved were the couple’s numerous pets, including two dogs, a bird, a snapping turtle, a snake and a small alligator -– all of which apparently co-existed in and around the couple’s side yard, Lopez said.

A cat named Smarty hasn't been seen since the fire,  but is presumed unharmed, he said.

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 -- Sam Quinones

twitter.com/samquinones7

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