2-year-old girl dies in camping trailer fire in Uintah County

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 19 2013 7:25 p.m. MST

A 2-year-old girl died when a camping trailer in Ballard, Uintah County, caught fire Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013.

Geoff Liesik, Deseret News

BALLARD, Uintah County — A short in a spliced extension cord sparked a fire Tuesday that killed a 2-year-old girl, according to investigators.

The body of Makella Lee Hardman was found inside the burned out remains of the camp trailer where she lived with her parents, Roosevelt Fire Chief Lee Rockwood said.

"(She) was in the back corner on a bunk bed," the chief said.

A short in a spliced extension cord used to power a space heater inside the camper was identified by the Utah State Fire Marshal's Office as the cause of the fire, Rockwood said. The space heater itself was not responsible for the blaze, he added.

The fire, near 500 North and 1500 East, was called in at 10:48 a.m. When firefighters reached the trailer nine minutes later, it was fully engulfed in flames.

"When we received the page and left work to head to the station, there was a black column of smoke coming up from (the fire)," said Rockwood, whose department is comprised of volunteers.

"When we arrived, we assumed it was just the shed that was on fire until we realized there was a camp trailer beside the shed," he said.

Tony Hardman, Makella's grandfather, said he and his son tried unsuccessfully to reach the girl before firefighters arrived.

"It happened in such a hurry," Hardman said. "I didn't have shoes on. I grabbed a fire extinguisher and tried to put it out."

Makella's father broke out the trailer's windows in an effort to get to his daughter. He suffered minor cuts and burns, but declined medical treatment for his injuries, Rockwood said. 

Hardman said his son and daughter in-law were living behind his house in the trailer, which they were renting from him. He believed Makella may been in the trailer taking a nap when the fire started.

The girl's body has been transported to the state Medical Examiner's Office for an autopsy.

Family members plan to set up a fund for donations at Zions Bank and Kings Peak Credit Union in Makella Lee Hardman's name.

"She was such a good little girl," her grandfather said.

E-mail: gliesik@desnews.com

Twitter: GeoffLiesik

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