Andy, a solo woman and a friend of my friend Patsy, recently lost her RV to fire. Here is her account and advice. I thank Andy for being willing to share her experience. Jaimie Hall Bruzenak
"The weekend before Thanksgiving 2008, I was parked at Southern Trails RV Resort in Unidilla GA. We had a brunch at the club house. The weather was chilly and I ran out of propane. I woke on Saturday and rushed to get my propane tanks filled in my 5th wheel. After that, I hurried to make a pan of grits for the brunch. I went to the club house and spent about 1 1/2 hours visiting and eating. Afterward, I went back to the rig and put the empty pan on the stove. I saw nothing, smelled nothing, heard nothing. I took my two dogs out for a walk. About 20 minutes later I heard the man next to me yell FIRE!! I looked up and my home was burning.
"The flames blew out the kitchen window. Since the man next to me had put the heavy full propane tanks in the rig for me, the first thing he did was get another guy to help him pull both tanks and the gas tank for the generator. I had fire extinguishers in the truck and grabbed them and started to spray the flames. Others grabbed their fire extinguishers and we actually had the fire out by the time the fire department got there.
"They went in the rig and the ceiling was smoldering and all the wiring was burning. The firemen yanked down the ceiling wiring and pulled the stove and microwave out of the wall and soaked everything down REALLY well. The rig was totaled!
"I lost everything! RVer's do not realize how much value they have in personal property in their rigs. I had $5,000 in personal property coverage which didn't even cover the two new HDTVs, my brand new computer and new telephone. All my clothes, shoes (orthopedic) and hats GONE!! Dishes and flatware and kitchen stuff GONE! I was able to have my sewing machine rebuilt, but lost almost $2,000 in quilting fabric and another $1,000 in quilting supplies. Pictures of my late husband GONE! Having to spend 5 weeks (including Christmas) in a no-tel-motel with the two dogs, while I waited for the insurance company to do their thing was PAINFUL!
"One thing for sure was that the RVing community at Southern Trails rallied around me with emotional support. I went to the clubhouse every day and got plenty of hugs and prayers. My kids rallied too with emergency funds and care packages of socks, underwear and a picture album (which made me cry)! Since the fire I pray everyday that God keeps me totally aware of my surroundings and always cognizant of what I'm doing.
"The insurance company said the plastic knob on the stove was off but the brass fitting inside was on low. They said the plastic was melted and was turned off after the fire. The firemen told me the stove was off. With my asthma I could not go inside the rig. All the formaldehyde and plastics and chemicals that make up an RV SMELLED horribly strong. I still reach for something, and say, “Oh shoot, it was lost in the fire.” Tell everyone to have PLENTY of personal property insurance. I have a new rig and will not give up full-time RVing. But I double-check everything now." Life Rocks when your Home Rolls - Andy
Photo of RV fire courtesy Mac the Fire Guy. Mac McCoy is a fire safety education instructor who teaches fire safety at a number of RV rallies.