6 Case Studies in Preventing RV Fires

With an average of 3,100 RV fires each year, there is no shortage of news stories across the U.S. and Canada about devastating losses due to recreational vehicle fires.

An portable heater left unattended was the cause of a fire that burned this Winnebago. (Credit: Bill Beezley/East Jefferson Fire-Rescue)

An portable heater left unattended was the cause of a fire that burned this Winnebago. (Credit: Bill Beezley/East Jefferson Fire-Rescue)

These fires caused seven deaths, 62 injuries, and approximately $41 million in damages each year.

These numbers reflect how important fire safety and fire prevention are to the RV lifestyle. Keep in mind a few safety precautions whenever you leave an RV for any amount of time.

Make sure that space heaters are turned off at night and when leaving the RV. Do not leave cooking unattended for even the shortest period of time. Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly and replace batteries yearly.

Following are recent reports on six RVs destroyed by fires that were caused by human carelessness.

Washington: Heater Cause of RV Fire

Peninsuladailynews.com reports that an old portable heater left on in a Winnebago was the cause of a fire that burned the motorhome.

East Jefferson Fire-Rescue personnel found flames shooting out of the roof of the 1972 Winnebago Chieftain after they were called to the fire at Sea Breeze Mobile Home Park.
No one was hurt, but the vehicle was uninhabitable, according to reports.

The owner of the vehicle was absent at the time of the fire, which was reported by a neighbor who called 9-1-1 dispatchers.

Royal Firefighters apply plastic to a trailer window after a fire at the Fort Victoria RV Park on Christmas Day. (Credit: Bruce Stotesbury, timescolonist.com)

Royal Firefighters apply plastic to a trailer window after a fire at the Fort Victoria RV Park on Christmas Day. (Credit: Bruce Stotesbury, timescolonist.com)

The owner told firefighters he had left an old portable heater on when he left the vehicle about an hour and a half before, and that was determined to be the cause of the fire.
Twelve firefighters from East Jefferson Fire-Rescue responded to the call.

Mississippi: Unattended Skillet Cause of RV Fire

Sunherald.com reports that a fire heavily damaged a 41-foot camper trailer on private property in Saucier on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Nobody was in the camper when the fire started. The cause was a skillet left on after sausage and bacon had been cooked, Harrison County Fire Marshal Pat Sullivan said.

Nine firefighters and two engines from Saucier Fire and the Harrison County Fire Services responded when the fire was reported. Sullivan said it took about 10 minutes to put out the fire.

Maryland: Hot Water Tank Malfunction Cause of RV Fire

Heraldmailmedia.com reports that a hot-water tank malfunction started a fire that caused $60,000 in damages to a 2011 Keystone Raptor fifth wheel trailer and its contents near Hagerstown.

The RV, which contained a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, was a total loss, according to a fire marshal’s office news release.

Twenty-seven firefighters from Hagerstown, Leitersburg, Longmeadow, Maugansville, and Greencastle, Pennsylvania, took 15 minutes to bring the fire under control.

Ohio: Refrigerator Cause of RV Fire

Norwalkreflector.com reports that a motorhome fire started at the bottom of the refrigerator and spread to the wall.

Damages totaled $20,000 and the vehicle was determined to be a total loss due to major heat and smoke damage.

Three vehicles and seven firefighters responded. When they arrived at the scene of the blaze, flames had gone through the roof and one side of the motorhome. No injuries were reported.

Texas: Space Heater Cause of RV Fire

Weatherforddemocrat.com reports that an RV fire south of Weatherford on Christmas left a man, who was sleeping inside the vehicle at the time, with third-degree burns to several parts of his body.

Fire that started at the bottom of the refrigerator destroys motorhome. (Source: norwalkreflector.com)

Fire that started at the bottom of the refrigerator destroys motorhome. (Source: norwalkreflector.com)

The man’s mother indicated her daughter and her husband saw the smoke from their house nearby and went to the RV and helped him get out. Firefighters from Spring Creek VFD, Weatherford Fire Department and Greenwood VFD responded to the fire and found the RV on fire. Firefighters said the fire probably started due to a space heater.

British Columbia: Turkey Left Unattended in Oven Cause of RV Fire

Timescolonist.com reports that a cooking turkey left unattended in an oven caused a travel trailer fire on Christmas Day.

View Royal firefighters were called to the Fort Victoria RV Park after neighbors spotted smoke coming from the trailer. Firefighters had the flames out quickly but the trailer suffered considerable smoke damage.

“It’s another ad for not leaving your cooking unattended,” said fire chief Paul Hurst.

“That turkey will be inedible.”

Worth Pondering…

Remember, safety is no accident.

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