Mobile Home Fire Claims Ellensburg Man's Life

Today, firefighters were back on the scene of a mobile home fire that took the life of an Ellensburg man last night.

We met with Mandy Draper, who stood outside in disbelief as the home of a man she took care of stood blackened and charred.

Draper says the home belonged to longtime friend, 66 year old Ronald Schonebaum, who died in a fire in his mobile home about 7 last night.

"He bought me my first car seat when I was an infant, and that carseat saved my life," said Draper, "So I always kind of felt indebted to him."

Draper has been Schonebaum's caretaker for the past 8 years, and says the man was disabled and had a hard time getting around.

"He had a hard time walking, he was on oxygen 100 percent of the time," said Draper, "He just had very-very limited mobility, which is probably why he couldn't get himself out."

As firefighters battled the flames-- other crews went inside to try to rescue Schonebaum-- but it was too late, and they found his body instead.

Crews then went to work attacking the flames that were shooting out from thewindows in order to prevent them from spreading to nearby homes that were barely 10 feet away.

"We were able to contain it to the one structure in part because it was cold and wet last night," said KVFR Deputy Chief Rich Elliott, "So that helped us. In the summer, we might have had a different outcome."

Fire crews think the fire started in a laundry basket full of clothes -- they say it's possible a cigarette or candle may be to blame.

Mandy Draper says she is thankful crews were able to keep the neighbors safe -- and although her heart is heavy, she believes her old friend is in a better place.

"At least he's out of pain, and he doesn't have to be limited by his restrictive body anymore," said Draper.