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Old 02-22-2015, 09:51 PM   #1
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AFChap's Avatar
Winnebago Owners Club
Spartan Chassis
Join Date: Aug 2002
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Unusual RV Fire

While picking up our coach from service I noticed this one parked on the lot ...very curious. Looking closely, you can see scorch marks above most of the windows, the door, and at the galley cooktop vent. The slideout topper awning is scorched, and the windshield and driver window are so black on the inside they are virtually impossible to see through (the other windows on this Winnebago product have a very dark tint anyway). The owners found it in this condition when they went to get it out of storage. They apparently had a small space heater plugged in inside the coach to keep it from getting cold, and the heater caught something on fire. As the coach was sealed there apparently was not enough flames to truly burn the coach. The fire smoldered in the carpet and furnishings until it finally smothered itself out from lack of oxygen. The inside is reportedly totalled, and the coach had to be towed in.

This is a strong reminder that electric space heaters should be used in an RV only with extreme caution AND ONLY when someone is in the rig and AWAKE to monitor it. Leaving a space heater running to keep the inside of the coach warm is somewhat fruitless anyway as the plumbing that really needs to be protected is below floor level. The only practical way to get heat to those areas is to run the LP furnace, and the tragic thing about this fire is that this particular coach is built with heat outlets from the LP furnace in those critical areas! If the owners had simply left their LP furnace set on 45 degrees or so, it would have used little if any electricity, and it would have kept the water pipes from freezing. BETTER YET, the best/safest way to avoid freezing pipes when in storage is to drain the water lines and blow them out with compressed air and/or add RV antifreeze. That would cost just a few dollars for the antifreeze and perhaps 30 minutes time.

NEVER leave an electric space heater running in an unoccupied RV, OR in an RV when the occupants are sleeping. To do so is simply an open invitation to disaster.


Paul (KE5LXU) ...was fulltimin', now parttimin'
'03 Winnebago UA 40e / '05 Honda Odyssey toad
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Old 02-22-2015, 10:18 PM   #2
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Old 02-23-2015, 08:26 PM   #3
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Sadly this happens frequently in winter, but purposely leaving a space heater running when you know you'll not be there for days/weeks is just asking for trouble.
2000 Winnebago Ultimate Freedom USQ40JD, ISC 8.3 Cummins 350, Spartan MM Chassis. USA 1SG, retired;PPA,Good Sam Life member,FMCA."We the people are the rightful masters of both the Congress and the Courts - not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow men who pervert the Constitution. "Abraham Lincoln"
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