(Editor’s note: Resident Lou Kamer did some homework for Circling the News about why RVs explode. The most recent was along Pacific Coast Highway in the early morning hours of October 11. Below is the information that Kamer found.)
About half of all RV fires occur while vehicles are stationary, according to statistics from the United States Fire administration. One of the biggest causes of fires, historically, has been refrigerators.
Mass product recalls have helped to reduce the issue, but this still remains as a leading cause of fires and if a RV resident has a Norcold fridge it should be replaced.
About 35 percent of RV fires are caused by electrical shorts and faulty wiring. Generators, water heaters, and air conditioners with faulty wiring and any other item wired into the electrical system can be a common source for fire.
The government warns that all wiring and connections on motorhome systems and engine should be inspected and replaced as necessary, as a precaution against fire.
Cooking and other unattended heat sources can start fires in stationary motor homes. Any cooking that is done in a motorhome should be attended, as should any other heat source such as heaters, gas lanterns and grills.
Most motorhomes use propane for the cooking range and furnace, and propane leaks can be another source of a fire.
The tanks used for propane storage should be inspected annually for leaks and one should inspect an RV for propane leaks before using it.
In stored vehicles, animals can build nests close to equipment that gets hot and it can ignite, setting a motorhome on fire. Inspection and maintaining systems in RVs are key and will help prevent fires.
From 2016 to 2018, an estimated 3,700 RV fires were reported in the United States annually. This resulted in 15 civilian deaths, 100 civilian injuries and $58.5 million in property loss. Of the 3,700 RV fires, 84 percent were in non-propelled RVs, with the remaining 16 percent in self-propelled.
In a moving vehicle, fires are most likely to start in the engine compartment and by the wheels and axels.
Experts say that diesel pusher engines are especially prone to engine fires and if one has a diesel, the engine compartment should be cleaned periodically.
Leaking fuel and fluid line are also a common cause of engine fires.
(To read more: https://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/statistics/snapshot-rv-fires.pdf and