My Burro is Gone, my Roo is damaged, guess I'm in a tent. - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-30-2010, 12:05 AM   #15
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The fire started at the fridge, or near to it. First flames were visible through the fridge vents.
I am so sorry for your loss. I had a close call with a fridge fire but nowhere near what you've experienced.

My fridge is chillin' right now on propane in the back yard in preparation for our weekend trip tomorrow. Now I'm worrying...
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Old 04-30-2010, 01:50 AM   #16
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Not so with gas piping: there is one right way and any other way is dangerously wrong. Our trailers add an extra dimension to that: they wiggle and vibrate as we tow them down the road, [b]creating ample opportunity for a pipe joint that was air-tight when it was soap-tested to wiggle just enough to cause a leak, with the unhappy results you've just seen. Or worse.
Do we know it was a pipe joint and not something in the refrigerator's burner/gas innards themselves? I use propane, so naturally I'm curious. Of course obviously it's a problem no matter what caused it.

I wouldn't encourage anyone to do their own propane work if they were not comfortable with it; however, conversely, I have found leaks that have developed in professionally installed lines, so that's not a guarantee either. It's good to test with a mixture of water and a small amount of soap. Also, propane lines should either be well secured to a non-flexing substrate, if rigid, or flexible (like hose) where they might move. So rigid pipes and joints should not be moving (if they are obviously there is a problem).

On boats there are commonly "gimballed" propane stoves. This means that the stove swings back and forth constantly as the boat moves (so the stove stays level). The connections at the stove are made with flexible lines. Then the rest of the lines (which are also on the boat, which typically is moving and slamming around), are more rigid (tubing) but are secured.

So many people use propane and don't have problems; but it is scary when something like this happens, that's for sure. It's probably not a bad idea for many of us to check over our systems, since time can take a toll.

Raya
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Old 04-30-2010, 04:06 AM   #17
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Sorry to hear about your burro! And just as the camping season was starting too. What damaged the Roo - heat from the fire or was there a small explosion or something?
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Old 04-30-2010, 06:42 AM   #18
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Oh my! I'm sorry to see that. These little trailers almost become family.
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Old 04-30-2010, 08:37 AM   #19
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How did you have the presence of mind to take a picture while it was burning? I probably wouldn't have even thought of the propaned tank needing to be removed.

Sorry for your loss. If you are like us, not only would we lose the trailer, but also 35+ years of camping gear. Some of that, we were just plain used to and it can't be replaced with the same thing.

Good luck on your journey to replacement.
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Old 04-30-2010, 09:36 AM   #20
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How did you have the presence of mind to take a picture while it was burning? I probably wouldn't have even thought of the propaned tank needing to be removed.

Sorry for your loss. If you are like us, not only would we lose the trailer, but also 35+ years of camping gear. Some of that, we were just plain used to and it can't be replaced with the same thing.

Good luck on your journey to replacement.
Oh Mike, first, I am SO glad to hear that NO one was hurt!
Additionally, I am so sad to hear of the loss of your Burro, and damage to the Roo!
Wow, I am just getting attached to my Burro, and can only imagine the awful feeling!

I do hope the Roo is fixable for you, and wish you all the best!
Regards, Jake.
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Old 04-30-2010, 11:00 AM   #21
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My son was taking pictures with his cell phone, I was not in the state of mind to think about that. I pulled the propane tank out of fear of explosion and damage to the cars and house. My wife called 911, my son moved our car that would have right near it, and my wife pulled the truck away as I was getting the propane I was hitched up at the time. At that time the fire was relatively small. I was packing for a weekend camping trip, so there is a lot of lost equipment, but that too is replaceable.

I had been in the camper within five minutes of the fire, and was in the house putting new mantels on the lanterns. Otherwise who knows, I have been in that camper all week getting ready for this trip.

It is amazing the feeling loosing that Burro, it is only a camper after all. But is was all mine, especially after all the work that went into it.

It is not conclusive that it was the fridge or propane that started the fire. Everything is under that counter,110 electrical, 12 volt electrical, propane, charger. TV was in the upper cabinet and was on. Both the 12 volt and 110 lights we on. So who knows what caused the first spark.

I guessed propane only because it was where the fire was visible through the vents, and the fridge was running on propane. But I only had one connection directly from the tank hose to the fridge and had triple tested for leaks. I had just tested it again before lighting the fridge with soapy water and no bubbles. It had also been running on and off for the last few days.

I will say this the little fire extinguishers from both campers did nothing, so much for the perceived comfort. A garden house did more to keep it down.

Thank you all for your kind thoughts.

Mike
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Old 04-30-2010, 02:17 PM   #22
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Mike,

Sounds like you and your family members had great presence of mind and were cool during the crisis. Good for them (and you)!

These trailers really are somewhat "pet like," and I can really empathize with you. Darnit.

Quote:
It is not conclusive that it was the fridge or propane that started the fire. Everything is under that counter,110 electrical, 12 volt electrical, propane, charger. TV was in the upper cabinet and was on. Both the 12 volt and 110 lights we on. So who knows what caused the first spark.
Thanks for that additional information. I thought I had remembered that you had just re-worked the propane lines and that they were in good shape.

I sure hope that you'll be able to "adopt" a new egg soon - and a lucky egg it shall be

Raya
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Old 04-30-2010, 02:25 PM   #23
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Mike,

Glad the Burro was the only casualty. Hope things only get better from here on. Condolences!
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Old 04-30-2010, 02:29 PM   #24
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I sure hope that you'll be able to "adopt" a new egg soon - and a lucky egg it shall be

Raya

Raya, Here's Hoping! You named this Burro "Sweet Deal" if I recall correctly. I will happily name the next "Lucky Egg". And yes there will be a next.

I am now suspecting that is was an electrical spark. During the fire the flames were shooting out of the front by the fridge vents, but I never looked in the windows. Soon after I noticed the battery on the opposite corner in the rear had flames too. Could have been a 12 volt spark, I had not replaced all of the 12 volt wiring harness.

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Old 04-30-2010, 02:51 PM   #25
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What a sad loss, wish we still had our little Burro to pass on to you! It is true that it is 'only a trailer', but we all know how our eggs become 'family'! And you put so much of your time and skills into it. You must be feeling more than a little shaken, knowing how close you were to being in it at the time, your guardian angels were working for ya! Much sympathy to you.

For those with concerns....I couldn't agree with Peter more, propane joints, even the best, can wiggle loose with all the bumps and jolts they go through, regular checks is always a good idea. As far as professional vs doing it yourself, I know from Mike's work in the propane industry, he often goes into houses of new customers to do a safety check and finds horrible leaks, inappropriately hooked up stoves, lines, etc. done by 'professionals'. As in any trade, there are those who are well trained, stay current with training and do quality work, and those who do sloppy jobs. I think learning to do safety checks yourself is a good idea, or find someplace that is very reputable and understands propane systems in RVs. (We have often fantasized that if we ever full time Mike would be a traveling RV propane tech and provide that service while we travel to other RVers).

Your misfortune sounds like a combination of a propane mishap and electrical problem. Hopefully after you grief the loss, recover from the close call, thank your lucky stars, you'll soon find another trailer and create new happy memories.

Penney

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Old 04-30-2010, 03:20 PM   #26
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BTW

Wondering if you had a propane alarm/detector? Usually the smaller and older trailers do not, we certainly didn't with our Burro, but it didn't have a frig, just heater and stove, and we had the propane off a lot. Mike (my husband) recently posted a thread about the importance of having a detector, and replacing them every 5 yrs, as they're only made to last that long. If it was electrical, it would be hard to have known there was a problem, but if propane was involved an alarm might have alerted you to a problem. I know after thoughts aren't helpful in the loss....but good for the next trailer!
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Old 04-30-2010, 03:30 PM   #27
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Our Suburban gas water heater's propane valve failed on our last trip. I would light the water heater. It would light fine, then a few minutes later it would go out, but the propane wouldn't turn off.

The propane detector would go off -- but not until after we smelled propane. It seems our noses are more sensitive than the propane detector.

So based on our experience, since Mike had been packing and working in the trailer, I would think that he would have smelled propane if there was a leak.

Anyway, Mike, so sorry it happened. I am also hoping that you can get another little egg that you will love even more very soon!
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Old 04-30-2010, 04:31 PM   #28
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Sorry about the fire and eventual loss.

We had a fire years ago in my parents motorhome while staying at a campground in Wisconsin Dells. I was able to put out the fire quickly and only had minor damage. A plastic sleeve was used for the gas line passing through an interior compartment. A nail used to secure the sleeve was rubbing against the copper line and with time wore through. My wife, daughter and her friend were inside at the time and when my wife lit the stove .... whoof! The fire was limited an the enclosed space under the bench seats and bed and only damaged what was inside and a few curtains above. It was certainly a scary experience.
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