Oroville man perishes in fatal camper trailer fire

Not much remains of the fifth-wheel camper trailer in which Wayne Cumbo perished last Saturday in Oroville at his father’s property on the corner of Chesaw and Sawtells roads. Photo by Gary DeVon

Not much remains of the fifth-wheel camper trailer in which Wayne Cumbo perished last Saturday in Oroville at his father’s property on the corner of Chesaw and Sawtells roads. Photo by Gary DeVon

OROVILLE – A fire last Saturday night on Sawtells Road claimed the life of 55-year-old Wayne Cumbo who had been in a camper trailer on his father’s property.

When the Oroville Fire Department arrived on the scene at about 8:16 they found the camper trailer was fully engulfed by flames. They discovered Cumbo’s body after they extinguished the flames, according to Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers, whose department is investigating the cause of the fatal fire.

“We haven’t heard an official cause, the county sheriffs are conducting the investigation… we turned it over to them because of the fatality,” said Oroville Fire Chief Rod Noel.

Noel said nine Oroville firefighters and the Oroville EMS responded to the fire call and that the fire crew had two pumpers and a tender on the scene. Family members, including the victim’s father, Howard Cumbo, were on the scene as well, according to the county sheriff.

Fire Chief Noel said there was no power going to the fifth-wheel camper trailer and that he believed the propane tanks were empty.

“When the cause is unknown the state Fire Marshal has instructed us to call it an ‘unknown incendiary’ meaning an open flame of some kind,” said Noel.

Okanogan County deputies arrived on the scene to conduct the investigation and the sheriff said the cause of the fire is still unknown at this time, but believed to have been accidental.

Like his father, Wayne Cumbo is a former Oroville volunteer firefighter, according to Chief Noel. The victim of Saturday’s fire served with the Oroville Fire Department from 1978 to around 1993. His younger brother Ken is still a volunteer with the department and was at the scene fighting the fire.

According to Sheirff Rogers, this is the third fire in 15 days where a life has been taken. The first one was a trailer fire on Friday, Feb. 11 in Pateros where it claimed the life of Christina M. Kiesecker, 57, Pateros, the second one was on Saturday, Feb. 19, a vehicle fire on Havillah Road that took the life of Colleen A. Sherlock, 73, Tonasket.

“At this time, we do not have a cause of death yet,” Sheriff Frank Rogers said in the Sherlock case. “We are still waiting for some test results. Other than that, we do not have much else.”

Sherlock’s remains were found in her vehicle after the Tonasket Fire and Police Departments extinguished the fire, which began at around 11:05 p.m. on Feb. 19.

“The fires are not connected in any way,” Rogers said. “It’s just been a real strange and tragic set of events.”

About Gary DeVon

Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He has a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.

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