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Old 02-14-2011, 09:10 AM   #1
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Location: Frisco, TX
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Burned Down

This weekend I went to swap out a tire on my fifth wheel (used the Trailer Aid for the first time and it was pretty easy... but that is another discussion). My storage facility is connected to an RV park and when I was leaving, I saw this....

Someone had a bad day. Hopefully everyone is ok.
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2013 Ram 2500 HEMI 3.73
2011 Puma 259RBSS fifth wheel
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Old 02-14-2011, 09:19 AM   #2
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Location: Upperco, Maryland
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That's a very scary sight. I would have hated to have been near that thing while it burned. I see a propane tank to the left of the picture. I wonder what caused the fire? Electrical? Looks like an explosion occurred. I would think it would be completely to the ground otherwise.


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Old 02-15-2011, 10:05 AM   #3
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you would be surprised what a bad AC unit can do! guy came through work last summer with his 5'er and the AC caught fire while he was at work and it dripped fire down onto his couch, burnt that and luckily the neighbours saw the black smoke, busted in with a couple extinguishers and a garden hose and saved it. all his stuff in there and his work clothes were all destroyed. He was from Alberta and down here working oil field.
One state/province at a time!
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Old 02-16-2011, 07:51 AM   #4
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LP tanks have a built in release valve. In a fire the tank
will build pressure until the safety valve opens.
Gas will shoot out in a jet flame but the tank almost
never explodes. It vents and burns off until it's empty.

The trailer most likely did not explode. The sides simply
melted and fell over.
I'm glad we weren't parked close to it!!

I have a friend from work who spent years restoring one
of the old classic GM motor coaches. He and his wife
hand it completely re-done. It looked brand new.
While traveling the interstate across Kansas they were
running their genset to power the roof air.
A muffler bracket broke and dropped the exhaust
pipe. The genset was then exhausting right against
the rear wall. By the time they smelled smoke the entire
rear end was in flames.
They got out with their cat but lost it all.
Very sad. It was total loss and he just gave up and
no longer RVs.

Be careful out there! In spite of it going off every time
we make toast, our smoke alarm is our friend!
Dan & Rita D
2017 Nissan Titan 5.6L King cab 4wd
1999 Suzuki Intruder Motorcycle
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Camping days 2010-53, 2011-47, 2012-41,
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Old 02-16-2011, 08:12 AM   #5
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Fire safety briefing

Most likely someone pulled the LP bottles when they saw the fire. That is why the LP compartments should not have locks. Once the fire is going; just about everything inside is highly flammable and highly toxic when it burns.

Ditto - smoke detectors. If they are going off and you don't know why GET OUT. Styrofoam releases cyanide gas when it burns.

HOT Smoke and poisonous fumes are lighter than air. They will be in the top few feet of the camper. Your flashlight and fire extinguishers should be located near the floor. Use them to fight your way to the door; NOT TO FIGHT THE FIRE! (unless you are sure it is just a fire in the cooking pan and it is SMALL.)

Won't take much smoke and fumes to kill you before the fire does. In fact most fire victims are killed by smoke before the fire gets to them. They are just as dead though. Stay LOW (CRAWL); Breath Shallow (tough to do when sacred); DO NOT STAND UP TO OPEN THE DOOR. Reach up; open the latch and tumble out. Most likely the rush of air into the camper will flare the fire so be prepared to RUN. As they say in aviation... Run till you feel stupid.

When was your last fire drill? Was it at night when the family was asleep? Roll out of bed and trigger the alarm. See how the family reacts. Standing up will kill them. Make sure they know what to do.

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Old 02-16-2011, 10:28 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by KyDan View Post
LP tanks have a built in release valve. In a fire the tank will build pressure until the safety valve opens.
Gas will shoot out in a jet flame but the tank almost
never explodes. It vents and burns off until it's empty.
Dan is correct that a propane tank rarely explodes, unless there is direct flame impingement....that is whole 'nother ball game. When that happens, the pressure release valve will open, and the released gas will catch fire......not a big deal. But if a tank is directly in the flame, then it will weaken the metal in the part that is not cooled by liquid propane. Once the metal weakens enough, then all of the gas explodes at once, called a BLEVE (boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion). When fighting a fire of this type, it is important to keep the tank cool with a steady stream of water without putting the flame from the pressure release valve out. And most important, to get outta there if things get get beyond saving.

I witnessed a BLEVE on a 100 gal. propane tank. We heard the pressure relief valve releasing and the resulting flame, but could not get to the tank to cool it down. That puppy went straight up in the air, and luckily came straight back down. A cinder block wall protected us from explosion.


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