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Old 06-28-2014, 06:29 PM   #1
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First time I have used a Fire Extinguisher

Last Wednesday we headed for the coast on our annual salmon fishing trip. I pull the boat with the MH and the DW follows me in the Jeep. We both have walkie talkies. 60 some miles from home on I-90 a car passes me and motions me to pull over. I call the DW and ask if she sees something. About the same time she replys "pull over...pull over". I pull over and get out and immediately smell smoke. She yells at me to get the fire extinguisher. I grab it and run to the back towards the smoke and the whole right rear wheel of the boat trailer is on fire. I realize that I have to get under the trailer to get at the source of the fire and quickly released half the bottle. The fire stopped and I crawled out and began to walk back to the MH to get my cell phone when she yells out, "the fire's back". I run back and to my surprise the fire is bigger than it was before. Now it's getting really hot under there and I use the rest of the bottle. But as it runs out of chemical the fire is still going and I realize the boat is now in real jeopardy. So, I quickly run to the back of the MH and unhook the boat and moved the MH about 50 feet away. I figured there was no reason to lose the MH if the boat went up. When I run back to the boat a firetruck had shown up along with State Police and they began dousing the fire. They saved it. The irony is that I had just picked up the boat that morning from a brake shop that had completely installed all new brakes, brake lines, master cylinder, vacuum plates and repacked the bearings! The brake shop paid to have it towed back to their facility where it still sits today as they scratch their heads to figure out what happened. It looks like the new vacuum plates they installed were possibly factory defects. This was the first time I have ever had a fire and the first time I had ever used a fire extinguisher. It didn't put the fire totally out because the hub was so hot that it needed to be hit with lots of water and not chemical. But, it did give me enough time to hold it off until the fire truck got there. I had another bottle in the boat that I had completely forgot about until the whole thing was over. Sometimes you just don't think straight when your in a stressful situation. I would like to thank the passerby's for calling 911. By the way, when we got home the very next day we went and bought another fire extinguisher!! I have always had them, but now I know why I have them. Hopefully, we can leave next week and get the boat on the water.
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02 Fleetwood Discovery 37U, 330 Cat pulling a 2006 diesel Liberty..or..2011 4dr Wrangler..or..20' Lund Salmon/Halibut Hunter
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Old 06-28-2014, 06:56 PM   #2
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Wow. So glad it wasn't any worse.

I'm kind of a fire nut and have extinguishers at the entry, in the BR and in a bay under the coach. If there's a fire, I don't want to have to hunt for one.

Good luck on the repairs.

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Old 06-28-2014, 06:58 PM   #3
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OH boy, were you lucky , I've got 5 fire extinguishers myself and , tomorrow I'll be checking the charge gauges on every one.

Brake fluid , grease and rubber , with fiberglass, canvas and gasoline.
Not too much that wouldn't burn if things had gotten out of hand.
Glad you're OK.
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Old 06-28-2014, 06:59 PM   #4
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I have a 50' expanding hose with spray nozzle hooked up to the water supply inside the bathroom which will reach any part of the RV inside and outside and a fair way beyond the back if I pass it out of the bedroom window. Might be only 3 or 4 gallons a minute but it does a lot better on some types of fires than dry powder.

Powder extinguishers need holding upside down and tapping the side (on the edge of a carpeted step) a couple of times a year to loosen up the powder because the constant vibration can settle it down hard.
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Old 06-28-2014, 07:15 PM   #5
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I am very glad to read that you were not hurt. After seeing Mac the Fire Guy's seminar, I discarded all my factory powder extinguishers (supplied to RVers by manufacturers for monetary reasons). I now carry foam fire extinguishers as demonstrated and recommended by Mac McCoy. One part of his seminar demonstrates a fire that re-ignites using a powder extinguisher. Once a surface is foamed, it does not re-ignite. Also that powder is toxic (Mac actually puts the foam in his mouth), glad it did not blow back on you.

The subject of RV fire is very serious and not enough time is spent educating ourselves.

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Old 06-29-2014, 12:24 AM   #6
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I'm glad it all turned out ok for you! You dodged a bullet, but now you know the ugly truth-- portable fire extinguishers rarely put out any fires of substance, they buy you another 10-15 seconds so you can get the heck out!
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Old 06-29-2014, 01:17 AM   #7
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Tire fires can be knocked down with the a typical ABC extinguisher but will need water to fully extinguish. A few extinguishers may do it but get some h2o on it asap
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Old 06-29-2014, 03:05 AM   #8
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Had a travel trailer blow two tires at once, almost caught on fire. That's when I learned about the sorry RVIA approved Fire extinguisher my trailer had.

I now carry five extinguishers spread around various bays and inside.
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Old 06-29-2014, 01:42 PM   #9
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okay, I'll bite. I have heard of brake backing plates, but what is a vacuum plate?
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Old 06-29-2014, 02:38 PM   #10
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This is the problem with the standard fire extinguisher.. It allows the fire to re-kindle.

Google: Then contact: MAC THE FIRE GUY

He has superior devices for extinguishing.

By the way, as Kenny Rogers so aptly demonstrated.. The dry powder units DO have their uses (Movie Six Pack).
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Old 06-29-2014, 04:53 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Borderbuster View Post
okay, I'll bite. I have heard of brake backing plates, but what is a vacuum plate?
Five days ago I was ignorant as to how surge brakes worked! So as it was demonstrated to me, a vacuum plate is not a plate at all. It's a piston in a cylinder backed by a spring that releases the brake fluid pressure on the brake pads after the master cylinder has released it's pressure. If the piston binds up the pressure on the brake pads continues even though the master cylinder has released it's pressure. 60 miles later, the brake got so hot it ceased up. The inside of the wheel looked like the inside of a volcano. The wheel was red hot and melted the brake line which was draining brake fluid into the wheel. There were only two holes the size of quarters located on the inside of wheel that I could get chemical into. Just shooting the outside of the tire was not getting at the source of the heat and would have been a waste of time and chemical.
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Old 06-30-2014, 09:39 AM   #12
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Bummer! But there's a lot to be thankful for, it could have been a lot worse!
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Old 06-30-2014, 10:07 AM   #13
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Cars use to be rated at 250 gallons, on average to extinguish. With the exotic metals they went to 500 gallons. I have responded to a RV fire and mobile home fires. My opinion the extinguishers in the Trailers/ MHs are for stove fires and to get you out.
We have emptied 40 lbs of dry chem on under the hood fires on cars and still have to resort to water.
Dry Chen should be checked after 6 years and pressure tested after 12. Which normally means replace as that is cheaper than testing in most cases.
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Old 06-30-2014, 10:42 AM   #14
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My opinion of the dry chemical FE's that most RV's come with is that they are great to relegate for use when at your campfire or BBQ if needed.

I have all AFFF foam or Cold Fire units spread throughout the coach and car. I also have a couple of Halon units placed in strategically small closed compartments.

I will most likely purchase another larger AFFF unit to store in an outside compartment such as my LPG and Fuel tank compartment which is always unlocked and quickly available to anyone. BTW, if you think that I'm worried about someone taking it, I am not. If they want it then someday they will most likely need it more than I will.

I look at these fire extinguishers as insurance and hopefully I will never have to use one.

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