By Jeff Lehr

Globe Staff Writer

WEBB CITY, Mo. - A short circuit in some heat tape wrapped around water lines was being blamed for a fire Friday afternoon that forced the occupants of a mobile home in Webb City to seek other housing during this holiday season.

The Webb City and Carterville fire departments responded to a 12:24 p.m. alarm of fire at the Herbert Black home at 406 N. Elliott St. Capt. Mark Metsker of the Webb City Fire Department said he was not sure whether anyone was home when the fire broke out.

"I just know when we got there, everybody was out of the house," Metsker said.

No one was injured in the blaze that began beneath the trailer home that was elevated on bricks, and fire damage was confined to the floor joists and sub-flooring, Metsker said. He said the apparent cause was a short circuit in some heat tape wrapped around water lines beneath the home.

Firefighters were on the scene about two hours.

Metsker was not sure how many people actually lived in the mobile home, but said they refused a Red Cross offer of assistance in finding immediate shelter and apparently had a housing solution of their own.

"The house itself was smoked up on the inside," Metsker said. "They won't be able to occupy it again until they get some electrical and plumbing repairs."

It was the sixth residential fire in Jasper County in two days.