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Old 01-29-2012, 03:43 PM   #1
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Motorhome fires

Thinking back, it seems that most RV fires reported on the news are motorhomes. Obviously motorhomes have engines that 5ers and TT's don't have (but they have the tow vehicles). Is there something about MH's that make them more likely to catch fire? We are thinking about going to a MH and this bothers me.
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Old 01-29-2012, 04:24 PM   #2
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Instead of worrying, just plan on spending a small amt of money (relatively speaking) to:
A. Get good insurance.
B. Invest in a little defense.
Fire Safety Products
Most fires happen either in the engine compartment or the refrigerator
area (if propane).

John
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Old 01-29-2012, 04:32 PM   #3
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good question
We have several fire extinguishers on board and in the basement
we also had them in the fiver.

now where we have our home port, there have been two rv fires in as many years.
both were a complete melt down, just rims and some frames left
one was caused by a guy using a lantern inside his coach, you know the ones filled with that camping fuel(alcohol) he spilled it and then lit the lantern and of course WHOOSH went his fabrics and then the rest the rv.
it was a sight

2nd was a fiver....real nice blue ammonia fire, could be seen quite away away, his fridge self destructed

i think prudence is your best protector, be mindful of your periodic checks on stuff that gets hot or has a flame.
on a m/h add in the hot exhaust parts of the engine as well, especially the epa 07 and above engines that use the DPF. their exhaust is HOT HOT HOT during regeneration
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Old 01-29-2012, 04:32 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CapnMorgan View Post
Most fires happen either in the engine compartment or the refrigerator
area (if propane).

John
The fires in propane refers are caused by a defective (leaking) cooling unit. If the recalls have been done there is nothing to worry about.
We had a cooling unit fail, even on propane there was no fire as the cutoff that was installed by the recall did it's job.
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Old 01-29-2012, 06:14 PM   #5
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The fires most often reported are from Norcold 1200's, which is a high end RV refrigerator. A type most often found in motorhomes rather than trailers. Sure, some trailers have them, but I think the majority are in Class A motorhomes.

Norcold thinks they have the problem solved, but opting for either a residential type fridge or the Dometic brand fridge rather than Norcold may make you more comfortable.
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Old 01-29-2012, 06:18 PM   #6
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We hit this tire fire with 5 extinguishers and they did nothing. I now carry a foam extinguisher made just for tire fires.

The older couple that owned this rig were full timers who lost just about everything. Luckily we were not in a rush and were able to let them stay in our MH for 5 hours while the fire company battled the blaze and the wrecker cleaned up.





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Old 01-29-2012, 06:59 PM   #7
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As O/P said check all LP gas connections at least annually with soapey water, it's quick and easy, as well as check every thing for proper operation on a regular schedule, and don't use an appliance/system that is not working properly. Motorhomes in general have more on board systems that could be in use while under way, all of these could cause fires, fuel lines, generators, inverters, batterys, and on and on.
As far as fighting an RV fire unless you where right there when it started the best thing to do is get away from it, kind of like mobile homes they burn about like gasoline.
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Old 01-29-2012, 07:16 PM   #8
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As O/P said check all LP gas connections at least annually with soapey water, it's quick and easy, as well as check every thing for proper operation on a regular schedule, and don't use an appliance/system that is not working properly. Motorhomes in general have more on board systems that could be in use while under way, all of these could cause fires, fuel lines, generators, inverters, batterys, and on and on.
As far as fighting an RV fire unless you where right there when it started the best thing to do is get away from it, kind of like mobile homes they burn about like gasoline.

As bbean said, more systems (electrical & fuel) than most rvs. Makes sense that you will have a higher likelyhood of fire. Now, add an engine with hot components (turbo, exhaust, additional engine wiring, etc). 5ers & tt have a good number of fires due to brakes not working properly too.

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Old 01-30-2012, 10:13 AM   #9
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The only RV fire in our park this week was a 5th wheel. Fortunately the smoke detector was working which alerted neighbors who put the fire out before FD arrived. A combination of 2 extinguishers and a garden hose put out the stove, and the cabinets which were burning before flashover occured. Puppy dog was frightened but unharmed, hiding in the back bedroom.

As near as I can tell the 150 or so refrigerators all worked perfectly.

Check your smoke detectors,

Ken
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Old 01-30-2012, 10:24 AM   #10
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The fires most often reported are from Norcold 1200's, which is a high end RV refrigerator. A type most often found in motorhomes rather than trailers. Sure, some trailers have them, but I think the majority are in Class A motorhomes.

Norcold thinks they have the problem solved, but opting for either a residential type fridge or the Dometic brand fridge rather than Norcold may make you more comfortable.

A good number of Dometics are under recall also. We had a fire in our Class C, the cause of which was never officially determined. However, we had a Dometic refrig and we first saw the flames in that area. Complete meltdown of MH. Thankfully we were at home at the time and it was parked in our yard. We're planning (hoping!) to upgrade to a residential refrig in the HR Vacationer we have now.
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Old 01-30-2012, 01:45 PM   #11
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IMHO, I don't think there much difference between the appliances/systems installed in today's RVs. Type A, B, C, 5'r or TT, most have the same basic systems made by the same suppliers, albeit some come with more features. All one can do is to properly maintain on board systems and have any known issues taken care of ASAP.

We have the Norcold 1200 series and have had the two recalls C/W and have never had any problems(knocking on wood, here). We do keep a close watch for any tell-tale signs of problems. This thing just keeps on chugg'n and will freeze the lettuce in the frig side bottom drawers on anything over the #7 setting...even in Bolder City in 115 deg. weather. Gad.

Point being, go with the RV that suits your style/needs and don't stress about the systems. Anything man makes is subject to flaws. With a watchful eye and proper maintenance, chances are you'll be able to enjoy your choice of RV with an acceptable level of confidence. Have fun with the search. Bob
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Old 01-31-2012, 04:36 PM   #12
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Joe, let not your heart be troubled, just buy one with a residential refrigerator already in it. The motorhome engine is no more likely to catch fire than the engine in any other vehicle. You know from time to time some cars have burned up because of an engine fire.
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Old 01-31-2012, 05:31 PM   #13
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Just reading about the CSST gas tubing (yellow flexible) having problems.. CSST, Flexible Gas Tubing, Fires Linked To Lightning Spark Concern
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Old 01-31-2012, 05:33 PM   #14
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Joe, let not your heart be troubled, just buy one with a residential refrigerator already in it. The motorhome engine is no more likely to catch fire than the engine in any other vehicle. You know from time to time some cars have burned up because of an engine fire.
Absolutely sound advise.
Interesting stuff, what they circulate in the absorption cooling system. Amonia, and hydrogen mix.
Shades of Hindenberg!
When the thing leaks, the hydrogen WILL find an ignition source, then you have a 1500+ degree torch in the wall until it runs out of gas, and of course, by then, whe wall is going good.
Happened yo our neighbors last year, fortunate we saw it, we keep a hose hooked up just for such disasters. Got it out before total loss, however, after fussing with the insurance company and the repair shop for 8 months, the neighbor made me promise to ler 'er go if there is a next time!
Stick with a residential, you will have a lot less problems!
Have fun..keep the rubber on the bottom...
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