REFRIGERATOR FIRE - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-01-2009, 11:47 PM   #1
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All spring we had the trailer set up on the patio, plugged into 110 volts, running the refrigerator on electricity. Last Thursday (April 23rd) we hauled the trailer to my favorite place to get away from it all. Cibbets Flat in the Cleveland National Forest is a US Forest Service campground. It is a boondocking kind of place. Random water spigots are available so you can fill your fresh water tank. Vault toilets are provided. No electrical hookups.

As I was setting up the trailer on our site, I attempted to light the refrigerator to run it on propane. While the control knobs are inside the front of the ‘fridge, the actual controls themselves are outside on the back of the ‘fridge.

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Old 05-01-2009, 11:49 PM   #2
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Usually, after not using propane to run the fridge for a while, the flame is difficult to get started. This time, it caught on the 1st click… BUT

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The flame in the viewer was bright Yellow. I am used to seeing it Blue. Something in my brain said things are very wrong. I got a sense of time happening in slow motion, but got the refrigerator shut off as soon as I could.

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Old 05-01-2009, 11:50 PM   #3
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I went outside and opened the lower vent. The back of the fridge has the sheet of metal covering it. I’m guessing it’s to keep the draft from the vent from blowing the flame out.

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Old 05-01-2009, 11:53 PM   #4
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The metal guard sheet was very hot. I got the 3 screws removed… It took me a long time to notice just what the problem was. See the loop of gas line from the pilot valve to the burner? See the compression fitting on the valve end of the loop? See the blackened metal just above the broken fitting?

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I got the loop of gas line removed. The metal (aluminum?) line snapped off just next to the compression fitting.

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Old 05-01-2009, 11:55 PM   #5
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With the gas to the fridge shut off, I went and bought ice to pack inside around our food, and continued the campout. All in all, it was still a good weekend… Now I've got to fix the gas line.

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Old 05-02-2009, 12:07 AM   #6
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Wow, Glad you caught it, and it wasn't a surprise in the middle of the night! Also glad that it didn't ruin you weekend away. Stay Safe! Robin
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Old 05-02-2009, 12:12 AM   #7
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Following your instincts... and quick action. Good job in keeping a bad situation from becoming worse.


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Old 05-02-2009, 12:17 AM   #8
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Oh, oh, oh, I love Cibbets Flat, been there many times! I can't believe some one else knows of this little gem in the Cleveland National Forest!

I am so glad you posted this! I am always "careful" but with so much going on during set up, you must remember that "ember" burning regarding your fridge! Hope you love my favorite CA spot! When I return to CA, that is my spot, hope to see you there!

Everybody! This is just a lesson, keep an eye on EVERYTHING!, I had a bare wire near where my head is when I sleep in my Scamp, they found it when replacing my converter!
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Old 05-02-2009, 12:27 AM   #9
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Quick thinking! I'm so glad everything turned out okay & you weren't hurt. That was a little too close for comfort!
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Old 05-02-2009, 12:44 AM   #10
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I am usually the equipment engineer concerning the trailer. Robert is the chief cook and bottle washer. He has been interested in learning to operate the systems by himself. He usually wants to do the setup and breakdown.

Thursday was still a work night for me. I debated letting Robert drive the rig to Cibbets Flat by himself, and joining him the next day, since I had to work on Friday. I had some anxiety about him backing into the spot (the Honda still has the bumper damage from his last attempt). I decided we would drive up together Thursday night and I would go home after camp was set up, and return after work on Friday. This would also save us from having 2 cars at the campground and having to drive home separately.

Robert told me later that he would not have grasped the significance of the yellow flame so quickly, and probably not notice the fire until the whole cabinet was burning.
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Old 05-02-2009, 02:07 AM   #11
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Frederick.
That is aluminum tubing and you should be able to get some at a hardware store along with fittings and fix it at the campground.
That said, be careful bending the tubing so it does not kink. If you have a REAL hardware store they may bend the tubing for you with a bender.

The loop is for vibration, which didn't work 100%. )

Also when you are done have someone soap the fittings as soon as you lite pilot flame.

Bill K
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Old 05-02-2009, 07:04 AM   #12
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Hi: Frederick... WHEW!!! That was close!!! I have seen what the outer wall of an RV. looks like after a fridge fire and "It ain't pretty". You just got a little SINGED!!!
Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 05-02-2009, 07:44 AM   #13
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Frederick, Thanks for the reminder. I'm not sure I would have recognized the difference in flame color so quickly. I too will keep my eyes open when dealing with propane. Great wake up call for us all. Glad to hear that you are both safe, and were able to enjoy the trip dispite this setback.

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Old 05-02-2009, 09:59 AM   #14
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Quote:
Wow, Glad you caught it, and it wasn't a surprise in the middle of the night!
I'm glad it wasn't a surprise while I was driving down the road.
I experimented with running the refrigerator on gas while driving two years ago. Then I checked the temperature closely and found that it wasn't cooling any better than shutting the fridge off and using ice blocks while driving. I stopped the practice of running the fridge on gas while driving.
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