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Old 05-16-2013, 02:41 PM   #1
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Sad but true

So a guy a couple miles down the street from me is a interesting individual. One of those guys that is just full of ideas without enough time to act on everything. A bit of a hoarder. He was 78 years old when he decided to sell everything and move with his wife down south. He had accomplished some amazing things including the design and machining of the threads for nuclear bombs that always tightened in the same orientation. He had heavy equipment and machinery all over the property. I once asked him what it was for. He said he was going to finish it when he retired. That's when I found out he was 78. I asked what he was waiting for. He Lived in in a house that needs to be torn down. Yet he could fix just about anything.

Anyway after filling about three dumpsters and selling what he could he bought a nice class A motor home and he and his wife took off for Texas. This was about a year ago. Just heard earlier this week that the heater in the MH had quit working so he got the idea to put one of those wall unit heaters in. Well you guessed it the MH caught on fire. The really sad part is his wife of over 50yrs died in the blaze. She couldn't get out fast enough.

So being the type of guy that prefers to fix things myself too, it sorta reminded me how bad things can go. Not saying I wud ever consider placing a wall unit in my mh but you know what I mean.
We wernt close nor did I know him very well so no need to express any condolences. Just wanted to spread the word that sometimes its best to just fix items as they were intended to be used and how deadly rigging up a fix can be.
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Old 05-16-2013, 05:42 PM   #2
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That's the kind of story that stays in a guys mind for a long time.......thanks for sharing it.
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Old 05-16-2013, 08:03 PM   #3
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How sad...I'll remember it.
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Old 05-16-2013, 08:10 PM   #4
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Sad. Sounds like a great guy. I like to fix things myself too, but when it comes to electricity, that's where I fall short and hire someone.

Bless him and his DW. Sending my prayers and condolences.
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Old 05-16-2013, 09:04 PM   #5
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WE all have limitations. A wise man knows what they are. I don't mess with anything electrical, I don't drive more than 300 miles in a day or do anything that could result in catastrophic failure if my repair did not work. Just today I replaced a fan blade in the bathroom. I don't think it is going to work because I had to glue it into place to keep it from falling off the motor shaft. The original was just pushed into place. If it falls off no one will get hurt. I agree with you that juryrigging something could be dangerous. I figure that there were plenty of people smarter than me who designed and build my MH so who am I to mess with their designs. Its the one nagging question that keeps me from doing the Cheap Handling Fix.
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Old 05-16-2013, 09:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D in Davie View Post
WE all have limitations. A wise man knows what they are. I don't mess with anything electrical, I don't drive more than 300 miles in a day or do anything that could result in catastrophic failure if my repair did not work. Just today I replaced a fan blade in the bathroom. I don't think it is going to work because I had to glue it into place to keep it from falling off the motor shaft. The original was just pushed into place. If it falls off no one will get hurt. I agree with you that juryrigging something could be dangerous. I figure that there were plenty of people smarter than me who designed and build my MH so who am I to mess with their designs. Its the one nagging question that keeps me from doing the Cheap Handling Fix.
I'll fix what I know I can fix and if I'm not sure I'll ask someone. If I know I can't fix something I will hire someone who knows how to fix it. Just my $.02
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Old 05-16-2013, 10:09 PM   #7
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A really sad story but thanks for posting it. It's a real world reminder that things can and do go horribly wrong. I'm sure the story will make all who read it just a little more thoughtful when making decisions in the future.

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Old 05-17-2013, 07:56 AM   #8
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When I was younger ( a lot younger), my father was like that gentlemen. repairs were made with what was handy. My lesson learned..used new original type parts, ask for expert advice when I don't know the answer, research parts. Thanks for the info. Now I was going to install a wood burning fireplace in my MH. Guess I'll wait.
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Old 05-17-2013, 08:29 AM   #9
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Thanks Rob, A sad story indeed but as others has expressed, it is the lesson and not the story we need to remember.
I can fix about anything that I understand the engineering behind and am proud of it. I learned early on that there is a difference in “making something work” and fixing it.

If I do not understand the working principal behind a thing and cannot get reputable advise someone else will fix it. With that said there are other considerations, I am 64 now and I noticed when in my late 50’s I simply could not walk away from a task with a tool in my hand. The tool would turn up a day’s later right where I had put it down. That used to never happen but thank God I recognized it as a warning to be extra vigilant.

I Second-guess myself a lot now and do not feel bad it, in everything from mechanical devises to financial decisions. Asking for a second opinion or processing the logic twice in my case is not a bad thing. Dad said “measure twice cut once” I am old enough now to appreciate the wisdom behind the words.

Age may not have had a thing to do with the incident but there is a chance it was a contributing factor.
I pray that if I ever start something that could (if it goes wrong) harem someone around me and I do not recognize the danger someone will stop me.
Just my opinion.
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Old 05-17-2013, 11:13 AM   #10
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Very sad indeed!
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Old 05-17-2013, 02:32 PM   #11
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The pic below is at our boat harbor. The blazing motorhome belonged to a homeless guy's family, who rented the spot on the parking lot for the guy to live in thru the winter. One 5° early morning just after Christmas, he ran out of propane. So in order to keep warm he went outside and fired up the portable generator so he could run an electric heater. Evidently the heater malfunctioned-- but that's not what started the fire. According to a guy who was ice fishing, the guy came out of the motorhome, and was stumbling around like he was high or drunk, screaming he was freezing. The harbor owner was there too, and heard the commotion, and went to see what was going on. He told the guy he'd see if he could locate a propane bottle, and went to check in a storage shed. The guy went back inside the motorhome, and 5 minutes later, the harbor owner took this shot with his cell phone. Fortunately the guy got out first. He claimed he set the fire himself so 'someone would notice'. The FD and medical help showed up shortly after, and after some tests we learned why he acting drunk and disoriented: He was nearly dead from CO poisoning from the generator.

Obviously this guy wasn't an RV'er by typical standards, but like the first story, he was just trying to stay warm. And while an electric heater didn't cause his fire, a generator, just like those used by many of us, nearly killed him.

Just more food for thought...

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