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Old 04-07-2010, 06:06 PM   #1
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5er Fire shuts down I-95 in Richmond

Yesterday tragedy struck a full time couple, Duane and Nora, whose had a tire caught fire on their 5th wheel. I saw the rig pulled on the side of I95 and pulled our motorhome over and the boys and I jumped out with 3 fire extinguishers. Combined with some other motorists, we emptied about 6 extinguishers but could not contain the fire. Fearing the propane tanks were going to blow, we pulled the couple away from the rig. Two firetrucks came and ran out of water while it still burned. Finally 3 more trucks came and put out the fire but the rig smoldered for two hours as they found hot spots.

Thank God, no one was injured.

The pictures tell a very sad story:

I'm puzzled by how this could have been prevented? Tire pressure monitor? Bigger fire extinguishers? Less flammable materials in the camper contruction?

The VA state police, Richmond and Chesterfield fire fighters and many others showed great compassion and concern for this couple.

Remember Nora and Duane in your prayers as they try to put their lives back together. As full timers, this was their house, not just a camper that they vacationed in. They are currently staying with their friends in the Richmond area.
Tom and Katharine
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Old 04-07-2010, 06:53 PM   #2
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That is so sad.

Our best wishes and thankfulness for there safety.

Those are two propane bottles sitting on the roadway - after the fire.
Wayne MSGT USMC (Ret) & Earlene (CinCHouse) RVM14 (ARS: KE5QG)
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Old 04-07-2010, 06:54 PM   #3
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As an active firefighter I am interested in knowing the cause . My heart goes out to them as full timers this has got to be way worse than happening to someone with a fixed adderss.
Bob & Deb in a 1991 Southwind
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Old 04-07-2010, 07:09 PM   #4
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I'm sorry to hear this. Glad they didn't get injured. Just down the road from where this happened.
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Old 04-08-2010, 02:58 AM   #5
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Tom, thanks for sharing and hopefully this will be a wake up call to many of the RVing community at this time of year. It is so sad to see things like this happen and there are some things that can be done to prevent this type of thing. AS has been discussed here before; the most important thing is tire maintenance, inflation, inspection, mph and weight limit control.
It is imperative first to weigh these coaches to know that you are not over weight for the tire.
That the tire is properly inflated. Is not old, is in good condition and is not driven over the maximum tested and engineered speed of 65 mph without de-rating the weight carrying capacity of the tire.
I doubt that most tire pressure monitoring systems can determine heat in a tire from road temp, weigh overload, and other friction going on such as tire belt separation or physical rubbing.
I doubt one can carry enough fire extinguishers. I carry 7.
I guess a fire sprinkler system could be installed if the consumer want to pay for it and haul the weight of the water.
The materials of construction are flammable themselves and I doubt they will ever change; since it is other sources that get it started.

We will remember Duane and Nora in our prayers and hopefully they can get a replacement quickly and they can put this behind them and lean from it.
Mike, RVIA & RVSA Certified Master RV Technician
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Old 04-08-2010, 05:10 PM   #6
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That is a real tragedy. I'm glad no one was hurt, and I hope they have replacement value insurance.

One of the problems with a 5th wheel is you can have a tire failure and not know it because, unlike a motorhome, you're not riding in the 5th wheel. A tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) may not have predicted the failure, but at least it would tell you that it had happened.

On the other hand, the fire could have also been caused by a dragging brake or a bad wheel bearing. Some TPMS have temperature sensors, but I'm not sure is those sensors would be able to pick up the heat rise from the brake of bearing because those things are external to the tire.
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Old 04-08-2010, 06:15 PM   #7
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I too am an active firefighter. While have fought many Auto fires and a few trailer fires I know from experience that once they get going they can be quite hard to stop. I am very glad to see nobody was physically injured but having experience in losing your home to a fire I know they are suffering emotionally and probably financially as weel. My prayers go out for them and I hope that they are sonn back on the road.
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Old 04-10-2010, 08:40 PM   #8
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Our prayers are with them to be able to move forward and continue their RV lifestyle. Thanks for sharing the story with us.
Vickie & Ronnie
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Old 04-11-2010, 06:00 AM   #9
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Maybe someone should invent a tire compartment ansul(not sure on spelling) system. They make them for engine and fridge compartments. They would have to figure a different way of sensing the heat because of the outside air combined with moving would cool the area but it might still get hot enough to trigger the system.
Hope every thing works out for the couple.
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Old 04-16-2010, 08:15 PM   #10
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Most likely a blown tire that overheated from dragging. I once had a right rear blow-out on a fiver and did not know it until I stopped for gas.

Now we run Pressure Pros on all 14 tires.
Nancy & Dennis
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Old 04-17-2010, 03:16 AM   #11
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This sure is a tragidy !!!

I am always looking in my mirrors when I tow any kind of trailer as the trailer tires are the weakest link when towing.

I look for heat trails and white or black smoke in mirrors.
I also have INFRA RED thermometer that I check temps of tires,wheel hubs and brake drums when i stop as it is a tell of things down the road.
Any temps that are not as close too other wheels are a sign.
Again, this is soooo sad.

I will add another bigger fire extinguisher now as well
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Old 04-17-2010, 06:42 AM   #12
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so sad

we had a 5 er and we had a blown tire it was under our fridge in a small cubbord my husband kept shoes all of a sudden he seen his shoes pulled over , never felt it but it had ripped out the wheel well.
So sorry for this couple. I wonder if they will go out again? I'd have a hard time after a fire. do they post here? my prayers are with them.
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Old 04-17-2010, 11:27 AM   #13
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I am so glad they weren't injured. The Rv can be replaced and hopefully they have good insurance with adequate contents coverage. It may be a good time for all of us to check our insurance policy's and also consider a tire pressure monitoring system.
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Old 04-17-2010, 12:08 PM   #14
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How does everyone seem to know/ think this was started by a tire failure? I just did not see that here.
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